links as ‘works cited’

October 2, 2006

Hey everyone; as I am working through our readings covering blogs again for our upcoming assignment, i was struck with a sentence from one of the blog posts we read entitled Anatomy of a Blog : 

“At its best, blogging uses links to support critical, well-considered arguments with supporting facts. Links, in those cases, serve as a kind of Works Cited page, directing readers to additional sources of relevant material.”

I have been noticing that many of the links offered in the blogs which comprise our course readings are dead-links. Even in the aforementioned article, there are at least 2 dead links… what impact does these dead-links have on our so-called ‘works-cited’? does it have an impact on the content of the blog? i would say it does… if these external links are meant to flesh out our argument, or lend support to our ideas, then offering supporting opinions via dead links is the same as leading our readers down a blind alley.

 But how can we insure that the links within our blog-postings remain overtime, considering they are often external links that are outside of our control? my personal suggestion is to include a bit of the text (kind of an electronic ‘block quote’ if you will) from the passage you are ‘citing’… although this still does not prevent deadlinks, it will at least preserve the context which you are citing, even though the citation would be rather empty without the ability to corroborate your citation to the actual cited article/posting…

 what do you all think? any thoughts on what the impact of deadlinks are in blog postings? how can we prevent/lessen the impact if you feel an impact does exist?


5 Responses to “links as ‘works cited’”

  1. Vicki said

    I’m not sure I can answer your question about citing per se, but I can add to your call for discussion by asking: Is this where permalinks come into play? From what I read on permalinks it seems they are most common with blogs but some websites allow. Anyway just thought I’d see if we could tie this in with your discussion.

  2. amanda said

    Glad you raised this, Randy. It calls to mind something we haven’t really touched on in this course: blog preservation. Do we need it? If so, who’s going to do it? Should Libraries play a role in preserving blog content? Bigger questions to consider for sure, but in the interim, I like your suggestion of including a bit of text from your cited source to provide context in case said source disappears!

    Here’s an interesting, albeit old, article discussing the blog preservation issue. Will add it to our LIS757 archive in

  3. Randy said

    Great point VICKI! i had often heard about permalinks, but not really known what they were. they seem to be reserved for linking to blogs though… what about when we are linking to other websites that are not blogs? how can we ensure that our links are persistent, that the content on the other end stays put?

  4. Lauralee said

    When I find a dead link to something I want to read, I usually try looking it up on the Internet Archive (, where the site is often stored. Not a perfect solution, but it sometimes suffices. Of course, I don’t know how many people even know about the Internet Archive…

    I think the only real way to ensure that something’s going to continue to be available is just to store it locally. At my library, when we catalogue something that’s available online, we usually store a copy of it on our own server; otherwise we’d end up with a ton of broken links. This would be harder to do with online content that’s being continually updated, though.

  5. Lauralee said

    …Ooh, or you can use Furl ( – more on this in the group presentation next week (I’m about to write that part.)

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