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WebCite is a service that archives web pages on demand. Authors can subsequently cite the archived web page through WebCite, in addition to citing the original URL of the web page. Readers are able to retrieve the archived web pages indefinitely, without regard to whether the original web page is revised or removed (so-called link rot). Such archiving is especially important in the academic context. WebCite is a non-profit consortium supported by publishers and editors, and it can be used by individual authors and readers without charge. It is a member of International Internet Preservation Consortium.

Rather than relying on a web crawler which archives pages in a "random" fashion, WebCite users who want to cite web pages in a scholarly article can initiate the archiving process. They then cite—instead of or in addition to the original URL—a WebCite address, with an identifier that specifies a snapshot of the contents of the particular page they meant to cite.

One may archive all types of web content, including HTML web pages, PDF files, style sheets, JavaScript and digital images. WebCite also archives metadata about the collected resources such as access time, MIME type, and content length. This metadata is useful in establishing the authenticity and provenance of the archived collection.

History

Conceived in 1997 by Gunther Eysenbach, WebCite was publicly described the following year when an article on Internet quality control declared that such a service could also measure the citation impact of web pages. In the same year, a pilot service was set up at the address webcite.net (see ). Shortly thereafter, Google and the Internet Archivemarker entered the market, seemingly reducing the need for a service like WebCite.

The WebCite idea was revived in 2003, when a study published in the journal Science concluded that no appropriate and agreed-on archiving solution yet existed for publishing. Neither the Internet Archive nor Google allows for “on-demand” archiving by authors, and they do not have interfaces to scholarly journals and publishers to automate the archiving of cited links. By 2008, over 200 journals had begun routinely using WebCite.

WebCite is a member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium. It "feeds its content" to other digital preservation projects, including the Internet Archivemarker. Lawrence Lessig, an Americanmarker academic who writes extensively on copyright and technology, used WebCite in his amicus brief in the United States Supreme Courtmarker case of MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd..

Copyright issues

WebCite maintains the legal position that its archivinng activities are allowed by the copyright doctrines of fair use and implied license. To support the fair use argument, WebCite notes that its archived copies are transformative, socially valuable for academic research, and not harmful to the market value of any copyrighted work. WebCite argues that caching and archiving web pages is not considered a copyright infringement when the archiver offers the copyright owner to "opt-out" of the archive system, thus creating an implied license. To that end, WebCite will not archive websites in contrary to no-cache and no-archive metadata, as well as robot exclusion standards, the absence of which creates an "implied license" for web archive services to preserve the content.

In a similar case involving Google's web caching activities, on January 19, 2006, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada agreed with that argument in the case of Field vs Google (CV-S-04-0413-RCJ-LRL), holding that fair use and an "implied license" meant that Google's caching of web pages did not constitute copyright violation. The "implied license" referred to general internet standards.

Process

WebCite allows on-demand prospective archiving. It is not crawler-based; pages are only archived if the citing author or publisher requests it. No cached copy will appear in a WebCite search unless the author or another person has specifically cached it beforehand.

To initiate the caching and archiving of a page, an author may use WebCite's "archive" menu option or create a WebCite bookmarklet that will allow web surfers to cache pages just by clicking a button in their bookmarks folder.

One can retrieve or cite archived pages through a transparent format such as

http://webcitation.org/query?url=URL&date=DATE


where URL is the URL that was archived, and DATE indicates the caching date. For example,

http://webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FMain_Page&date=2008-03-04


or the alternate short form http://webcitation.org/5W56XTY5hretrieves an archived copy of the URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page that is closest to the date of March 4, 2008.

Outages

June-July 2009 Outages

In June 2009, attempts to create new citations failed. The project's creator wrote on June 19 that increased server load generated by Wikipedia's prompted migration of the service to a new server. By the end of June 2009, attempts to access the project's website returned a message that it was "undergoing maintenance", and previously archived links became inaccessible. The archiving service resumed operation by the second week of July 2009.

Business model

The term WebCite is a registered trademark.
  WebCite does not charge individual users, journal editors and publishers
 any fee to use their service. WebCite earns revenue from publishers who want to "have their publications analyzed and cited webreferences archived",
 and accepts donations. Part of WebCite's financial support seems to also come from research grants. Early support was from the University of Torontomarker.


See also



References

External links




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