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Author: Brett (Page 1 of 4)

Canadian Guide to Legal Citation: now recommending

The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 9th ed, a.k.a. the “McGill Guide” now strongly recommends!

“In an effort to prevent link rot (broken links or pages in the future), when you cite to an item found online, you must provide a Permanent or Archived URL after the regular URL in square brackets. A permanent link (also called a Permalink or Archived link) is a URL that is intended to maintain permanence for many years despite the changes to links on a website that may occur in the future.  The McGill Guide strongly recommends the Perma.CC system to create permanent links where none is provided by the site you are citing.”

Read more here.  The McGill Guide other style guides including The Bluebook: a Uniform System of Legal Citation and the Chicago Manual of Style in recommending for the preservation of URLs in citations.

Do you have a account yet to keep your links from rotting? Sign up here!

Academic Libraries on Perma: How to Handle Departing or Graduating Users

A recent question from one of Perma’s librarian-registrars to us was how to handle Perma users who are graduating or departing academic institutions where it’s in use.

In short, we leave it to our academic library partners to decide whether to continue supporting Perma use after graduation. If they want to support personal use of Perma by alumni, and be responsible for customer questions and content-related policies for those folks, that’s fine with us. If they would prefer not to take on that alum support role, then they should put in place policies/practices for rolling graduates out of the orgs and we can take on those folks under our paid subscription model, if they so choose. All users retain access to their Personal Links folder regardless of academic affiliation and all public Perma Links created as part of an org remain visible via their URL.

  1. If you do not wish alumni to remain on your library’s Perma account:

Actions to take:

  • Develop workflow for removing those departing from their orgs
  • Notify departing users of the upcoming changes:
    • User will only have access to Personal Links Folder
    • They will no longer have ability to create more than their 10 starter Personal Links, unless they purchase more via a Perma subscription
    • If they want a record of the links that they made as part of that org, they should generate their own list of those Perma Link URLs – they will continue to be viewable as long as they’re public.

Things to note:

  • It is possible to move links from an organizational folder to a personal folder, but those links would no longer be accessible to the org itself.
  • As long as a Perma Link is public, anyone can continue to view / access its content.
  1. If you want to allow graduates to continue creating Perma Links through your library:

Actions to take:

  • Set policies for this however you’d like: one option is to remove them from the org(s) they were a part of, then add them to a separate org for alumni / them specifically / etc.

Things to note:

  • Links created as part of a registrar organization are the responsibility of that registrar. Policies and best practices for collection of alumni links would still be the responsibility of the registrar library. As these users are no longer an active part of the institution, their use of Perma may extend beyond exclusively academic use. It may be worthwhile to create a separate alumni usage and support policy in light of this.

So how bad a problem is link-rot?

An academic library recently reached out to us regarding literature on the severity of link-rot. Having these in one place can be useful for anyone looking into it, though – find a collection of these below!

  • The study that inspired’s creation: this study of law journals from ’99 to 2011 found more than 70% of the URLs do not link to the originally cited information, as well as 50% of the URLs in US Supreme Court opinions.
  •  In a study from the Hiberlink team of 3.5 million articles from 1997 to 2012, they found that in 2012 alone 22% of Elsevier article hyperlinks had rotted, with the percentage higher for each previous year,
    • 4/5ths of all 2012 papers contained at least one link that suffered reference rot, i.e., at least one reference to web content was either dead or not archived until some time after the publishing date.
    • 75% of all links in the study were not cached on an archiving site within two weeks of the article’s publication date, meaning the content might not reflect the citing author’s original intent.
  • A more recent study by the same group found that of the links examined, for those that still worked, 75% of them led to content that was different from what was originally referenced.
  • A study from Nanyang Technological University covering 7 years of science journals specifically showed 31% of links rotted, with .edu links at the highest rate: 36%.

At a library and wondering how best to let those there know how they can use Perma to fight link-rot? Many libraries set up a simple LibGuide with a contact email for those who want to utilize at their institution, such UMass’ here (archive) or Virginia Tech’s here (archive).

Perma now offers individual user subscriptions, organizational accounts, and free accounts for those at academic institutions. Perma was made at and is supported by the Harvard Law library, part of the oldest library system in the United States, and supported by a network of libraries. Use it to make a short-link to a preserved copy of the webpage you’re citing to – a link you can trust won’t die or go away. Nearly 1,000,000 citations saved!

Perma’s November Appearances, at a glance

Here’s Perma’s November stats as of Nov 28th, per Westlaw:

  • 40 state and federal court opinions, including the highest courts in:
    • Hawaii
    • Iowa
    • Michigan, as well as
    • The U.S. Appeal Court, Third Circuit, and
    • Appellate courts in New York, Colorado, Illinois, Washington, California and more.
  • 417 law review articles
  • 23 briefs, and
  • 7 additional court filings, including trial court documents and trial court orders.

Sign up here to use to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We are also now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!’s Late October Appearances: Opinions, Articles and More keeps popping up: per Westlaw, in the past two weeks Links have showed up in:

  • 27 state and federal court opinions, including the highest courts in:
    • Vermont
    • Illinois
    • Washington
    • Michigan
    • Montana
    • Colorado
  • 119 law review articles
  • 15 court filings, including briefs and trial court documents

Sign up here to use to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We are also now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!

Perma Madness! Mid-October Edition

Lots of Perma appearances over the past two weeks! Per Westlaw, in the two weeks Links have showed up in:

  • 24 state and federal court opinions
  • 192 law review articles
  • 16 court filings, including briefs and trial court documents

Sign up here to use to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We are also now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!

Perma at Boston University’s LibraryFest 2018

I had the pleasure of manning a table at the BU Law School LibraryFest this past month! Librarian Shira Megerman invited me to discuss the Library Innovation Lab projects with BU Law Students, including and H2O.

B.U. Law Tower. Image c/o Wikimedia

There was significant interest from the law students, most of which were 1L’s, about how tackles the issue of link rot. As I’ve found with others, they hadn’t considered the potential impact of link rot on their research or citations, but quickly understood both its impacts and how Perma addresses them. Many were also intrigued by H2O, in particular how it lets instructors create a textbook for their course that would be either free (when accessed online) or a fraction of the cost of a traditional casebook (when distributed through a print-on-demand service).

My thanks again to Shira and the BU Library staff for their friendliness and energy! – Brett

Perma Pops Up on Westlaw, Week of October 1st

Per Westlaw, in the past week Links have showed up in:

  • 9 state and federal court opinions, including opinions by the highest court in
    • Illinois
    • Washington
    • Massachusetts
  • 35 law review articles
  • 5 court filings, and an environmental law forms guide.

Sign up here to use to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We also offer organization-wide accounts and are now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!

New Policy Regarding No-Archive Metatags

We’re excited to announce a change to the way handles our users’ efforts to preserve web pages that have generic no-archive metatags.

In the past, when someone used Perma to preserve a webpage with a generic no-archive metatag (such as a New York Times or NPR article) the resulting Perma record was automatically, unalterably set to “Private.” We’ve found that this practice was unnecessary and often a source of confusion and frustration for our users.

Going forward, when someone uses Perma to preserve a page with a generic no-archive tag, that Perma record will not automatically be set to “Private.” Instead, these records will be public by default, and users will have the option to manually make them private if they or their institutions wish. In addition, existing Perma records with generic no-archive metatags will remain private, but users now can make those records public. will continue to recognize any Perma-specific “noarchive” metatag or a Perma-specific robots.txt exclusion. Any Perma records of sites implementing those methods will be private.

We’re enthusiastic about the way this change will provide even greater access to links and citations that’ve been protected through Perma. Feel free to reach out to us at with any questions! Usage in the Legal World, Week of September 16th‘s use in the legal realm continues to grow. Per Westlaw, in the past week Perma Links made appearances in:

  • 11 court opinions, including opinions by the highest court in
    • Massachusetts
    • Vermont
    • Maryland
    • Iowa
  • 34 law review articles
  • 6 court filings, including 3 Supreme Court briefs. use is encouraged by The Bluebook and the Chicago Manual of Style. Sign up here to use to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We also offer organization-wide accounts and are now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!

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