The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive has just published its 3rd annual study of link rot (see link in the top right of the home page under “Additional Resources”).
Link rot describes “a URL that no longer provides direct access to files matching the content originally harvested from the URL and currently preserved in the Chesapeake Project’s digital archive (…) In some instances, a 404 or ‘not found’ message indicates link rot at a URL; in others, the URL may direct to a site hosted by the original publishing organization or entity, but the specific resource has been removed or relocated from the original or previous URL.”
The Project is an initiative of the Georgetown University Law Library and the State Law Libraries of Maryland and Virginia and is a digital archive for the preservation of important Web-published legal materials.
In the 3 years since the launch of the Project, researchers have found that link rot increased from about one in every 12 archived titles in 2008, to one in every seven titles in 2009, and finally to about one in every 3.5 titles in 2010.
This issue has been examined in the past here on Slaw: