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J Med Internet Res. 2005 Dec 30;7(5):e60.

Going, going, still there: using the WebCite service to permanently archive cited web pages.

Abstract

Scholars are increasingly citing electronic "web references" which are not preserved in libraries or full text archives. WebCite is a new standard for citing web references. To "webcite" a document involves archiving the cited Web page through www.webcitation.org and citing the WebCite permalink instead of (or in addition to) the unstable live Web page. This journal has amended its "instructions for authors" accordingly, asking authors to archive cited Web pages before submitting a manuscript. Almost 200 other journals are already using the system. We discuss the rationale for WebCite, its technology, and how scholars, editors, and publishers can benefit from the service. Citing scholars initiate an archiving process of all cited Web references, ideally before they submit a manuscript. Authors of online documents and websites which are expected to be cited by others can ensure that their work is permanently available by creating an archived copy using WebCite and providing the citation information including the WebCite link on their Web document(s). Editors should ask their authors to cache all cited Web addresses (Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs) "prospectively" before submitting their manuscripts to their journal. Editors and publishers should also instruct their copyeditors to cache cited Web material if the author has not done so already. Finally, WebCite can process publisher submitted "citing articles" (submitted for example as eXtensible Markup Language [XML] documents) to automatically archive all cited Web pages shortly before or on publication. Finally, WebCite can act as a focussed crawler, caching retrospectively references of already published articles. Copyright issues are addressed by honouring respective Internet standards (robot exclusion files, no-cache and no-archive tags). Long-term preservation is ensured by agreements with libraries and digital preservation organizations. The resulting WebCite Index may also have applications for research assessment exercises, being able to measure the impact of Web services and published Web documents through access and Web citation metrics.

PMID:
16403724
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1550686
Free PMC Article
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