Sustainable citations for web content: archiving tools

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Will your Internet citations last? The basic principle of all citation applies to the Internet: a citation is meant to help locate the information for readers to assess the trustworthiness of a source. However – since web pages may be deleted, updated, or moved – the practice of citing sources currently accessible on the web will not help future readers. Some web archiving tools are available to help preserve cited sources. Whether you are creating a website for a research project, or citing a URL for your bibliography, you can provide permanent citations to content currently located on the web. These tools help create snapshots of current content and permanent archived links.

Here is a selection of web archiving tools:

–    Internet Archive To save a page, use the ‘Wayback Machine’ to paste a URL into the box ‘Save Page Now’. This allows the capturing of a web page as it now appears, for use as a trusted citation in the future. You can also use the Wayback Machine’s browser extensions (Chrome/Firefox) to save any pages you’re currently consulting with a couple of clicks.

– captures individual pages in response to explicit user requests, making it a permanent archive. Since July 2013, supports the Memento Project (project focusing on the integration of Web Archives in regular Web navigation).

–  archives referenced content and generates a link to archived records of web pages which will always be available through the link. (Library sign-up required: write [email protected]).

–    webcitation creates a webcitation permanent link after the user completes out an archiving request.

As with any academic source, the current practice, when citing web pages is to indicate the standard details of author, title, date of page, date of access (eg: “<URL> Accessed 8 December 2015”). In addition, for a  self-archived project web page, and/or a URL citation, you can give the archived URL “Archived at + <URL>”.

Citing Archived web pages: Web pages not longer available online, but which can be retrieved from a web archive (e.g. Internet Archive, Internet Memory Foundation etc.) should be cited as: “Retrieved from” + the archived <URL>.

The URL (Internet address) of any cited source should be generally cited in angle brackets, and should be complete, including the protocol http.

For further information, please write to [email protected]