Back in 2009, I did a quick check on link rot in Canadian decisions on CanLII. Today I repeated my quick investigation of link rot in Canadian judicial decisions. To gather decisions with URLs I simply searched for the text “http://” in CanLII. I limited my results for 2012 decisions, and sorted by date.
There were 156 court decisions in 2012 that referenced websites by specific URL. I looked at 10 decisions – all of which were decided between December 19 and 31, 2012. There were 4 broken hyperlinks. One reference was missing the colon in “http://”, and once that was inserted, the link worked. The broken links were intended to lead to specific documents. The URLs that were unsuccessful pointed to a Government of Alberta site, to a professional organization in Newfoundland and Labrador, to a document on the Federation of Law Societies of Canada site, and to a document from the Government of Canada.
Link rot is a nasty problem that is attended to by study and commentary. See, for example, Michel-Adrien Sheppard’s post about the Fifth Annual Link Rot Report of the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group.
Given that we still have a problem, what do Slawyers think should be done about this?