Save Page Now and get a permalink from the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive (IA) announced some changes to the WaybackMachine a few days ago, including a tool that allows users to submit a link to the IA for archiving and then receive a permalink if the submit was successful.  The Save Page Now tool is available on the WaybackMachine home page and is fully described by blogger Karen Coyle.

Previously, there was not a reliable way for users to request that links be archived in the IA.[1]  Captured pages also would not be visible for months.  New captures are now visible in roughly an hour, and users instantly receive a permalink for an archived page.

The IA is also undertaking other related initiatives, including fixing broken links in WordPress and Wikipedia and possibly archiving all Wikipedia links.  IA’s Alexis Rossi presented these new changes at a recent Internet Archive celebration.  A video recording is available on the IA website.

The tool described in my post on linkrot does more than archive webpages.  It captures ephemeral content like pop-ups and search results pages that are not archived or displayed by the IA. also allows users to see the links they have created from their account dashboard.  Still, Save Page Now is a great tool for students, academics, and bloggers who want to push cited content into the archive and permanently link to an archived page.

HT @LibraryJournal and @mfgaede

[1] Jason Hennessey and Steven X. Ge, “A Cross Disciplinary Study of Link Decay and the Effectiveness of Mitigation Techniques,” in “Proceedings of the Tenth Annual MCBIOS Conference,” supplement, BMC Bioinformatics 14, no. S5 (2013): Discussion, doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-S14-S5,


Cover art remix of Bound By Law comic by Keith Aoki, James, Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins (Duke CSPD)
Remix by @ninarose 15 CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

This week’s feature is a shout out for my YouTube playlist, Journal Views. I’ve been collecting videos on topics like law publishing history, journal publishing on tablets, critiques of law journal publishing, social media usage by academic journals, university press book publishing for the wider academic publishing context, open access law journal publishing, and open access generally (what it is and what kind of impact it can have). Take a peek and let me know what you think. Bonus points to readers who suggest YouTube videos to add to my collection.

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DOAJ raises inclusion bar and adopts a Seal of Approval difficult for many open access law journals to attain

Open Access Week is a good time to raise awareness of recent policy changes made by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) that affect all listed journals, including 36 law journals published in the United States.  Importantly, these changes could cause some journals to lose their DOAJ listing and others to be disqualified from receiving the new DOAJ Seal of Approval for Open Access Journals.

What DOAJ is and what it is seeking to accomplish

DOAJ is a directory and article search engine.  It lists open access journals that contain scientific and scholarly content developed through quality control processes (i.e., via an editorial board or peer review system) and that meet specified coverage and access criteria.[1]  DOAJ has defined open access journals as those (1) that do not charge their users or institutions for access and (2) that allow users to “ ‘read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles.’ ”[2]

In an effort to establish itself as “a trusted and reliable information resource that identifies good quality open access journals and filters out disreputable publishers,” DOAJ has raised the bar on journal inclusion.  Following a one-month public comment period that began in June, last month DOAJ finalized changes to its inclusion criteria and put finishing touches on the DOAJ Seal.[3]  These new criteria are currently contained in the draft application, released by DOAJ in September 2013 along with a summary of pubic comments

Criteria for inclusion in DOAJOrange open access logo in shape of an open padlock

To be listed in DOAJ, journals will have to complete a form that currently numbers 33 fields.  Some of the fields pertain to basic journal information, but the bulk of the application sets forth the requirements related to the journal’s funding model, use of permanent article-level identifiers, publication format, available metadata, editorial processes, and levels of openness.[4]  The specific requirements are too numerous to cover here but should be carefully reviewed by journal editors, since currently listed journals will be re-evaluated for compliance by DOAJ within the next year.[5]  The draft application does state that failure to meet all criteria will not automatically disqualify the journal.  Details about how long currently listed journals have to comply will be forthcoming.[6]  Journals can subscribe to DOAJ’s RSS feed or follow @DOAJplus on Twitter for updates.

Law librarian support of law journal publishing

Law librarians at U.S. institutions that publish DOAJ-listed journals could support them during the transition.  Editors could be alerted to the changes and provided with a policy inventory checklist covering the new inclusion criteria.  Librarians might also help journals develop policies and mechanisms for detecting plagiarism and for assigning permanent article-level identifiers.  Law librarians Benjamin Keele and Michelle Pearse provide excellent guidance on these issues in their article, “How Librarians Can Help Improve Law Journal Publishing.”[7]

Qualifying for the new DOAJ Seal of Approval

Close-up photo of a content seal basking in the sun

Seal of approval, by Kyknoord
Flickr CCBY 2.0

Entirely new to DOAJ is the development of a Seal of Approval for Open Access Journals.  DOAJ has had a SPARC Europe Seal since 2008 for publishers that provide journal content under the generous Creative Commons CC-BY license and article-level metadata to DOAJ.  The new seal adds five other requirements.  To obtain a Seal of Approval, a journal must

  • Use DOIs (digital object identifiers) as permanent article-level identifiers
  • Provide article-level metadata to DOAJ
  • Have a long-term digital preservation arrangement in place with an external party[8]
  • Embed machine-readable CC copyright information in its articles’ metadata
  • Allow generous reuse and remixing of its content, in accordance with a CC-BY license
  • Allow the author(s) to retain the copyright of the work without restriction
  • Have a deposit policy registered in a deposit policy directory[9]

While some of these criteria may present a hurdle to listed law journals, this post focuses on the DOI requirement, as these identifiers have not been widely used in legal scholarship and impose an additional cost on providing free content.

“What’s a DOI?”

Most law journals don’t use DOIs, so you may be wondering what they are.  A DOI is an alphanumeric string of characters assigned to a digital object to persistently identify the object and point to its location on the Internet via an associated uniform resource locator (URL).[10]  To assign DOIs to articles, a journal must be a fee-paying member of CrossRef, a DOI link registration agency for scholarly publications.  The per-article deposit fee is $1.00.  Journals would have to provide and maintain the accuracy of article-level metadata and submit the citations of each article.[11]  There are other persistent identifier systems out there, but use of the DOI system is exclusively required to obtain the DOAJ Seal.

Few law reviews assign article-level DOIs,[12] and open access law journals are no different.  There are currently 196 open access law journals indexed in DOAJ, including 36 published in the United States.[13]  Of the U.S. journals, 72%, or 26 journals, do not use DOIs.[14]  This criterion alone disqualifies most listed law journals from receiving the DOAJ Seal.  Not having the seal could carry the taint of being a less credible journal even though the seal requirements are technical.

Consortia, library support for journals that adopt DOI

While DOAJ acknowledged in its summary of public comments that there are other permanent identifier systems and that some publisher groups don’t use DOIs, it retained the DOI criterion as a “best practice in academic publishing.”[15]  DOAJ will explore small-publisher solutions with CrossRef.[16]

Open access law journals with limited resources could form a journal consortium to share CrossRef costs.[17]  Maintaining accurate metadata is, however, particularly difficult for student-edited journals with editorial boards that change from year to year.[18]  Contracting with a vendor to provide DOI services may be an option.[19]  Alternatively, librarians or library consortia could support journals by providing the expertise and continuity needed to manage DOIs.

DOAJ listing is critical, but what about the DOAJ Seal?

Retaining a journal’s DOAJ listing is critical as both a discovery and a credentialing aid.  But how important to open access law journals is the DOAJ Seal?  Can law journals feasibly meet other Seal criteria, like the required CC-BY license?  I’d love to hear from law journals, librarians, or other readers below or on the L.J. eds. Facebook Page.

[2] Ibid. (quoting the Budapest Open Access Initiative).

[3] DOAJ, “DOAJ Publishes Response to Public Feedback on Revised Selection Criteria and a Roadmap,” news release, September 16, 2013,

[4] DOAJ, “Draft Application for Inclusion in DOAJ,” September 2013,

[5] DOAJ, “DOAJ Announces New Selection Criteria,” news release, June 12, 2013,

[6] DOAJ, “Summary of All Feedback Received During the Open Period to Draft 1 of the Revised DOAJ Selection Criteria,” item #10, news release, September 2013 (v.2),

[7] Benjamin J. Keele and Michelle Pearse, “How Librarians Can Help Improve Law Journal Publishing,” Law Library Journal 104, no. 3 (2012): 391–95,

[8] Examples are LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, and Portico.

[9] DOAJ, “Draft Application.”  An example of a deposit policy directory is SHERPA/RoMEO.

[10] “FastFacts,”, July 25, 2013,

[11] Ibid.

[12] Benjamin J. Keele, “A Primer on Digital Object Identifiers for Law Librarians,” Trends in Law Library Management and Technology 20 (2010): 38,

[13] Based on a manual count.  “Browse by Subject>Law and Political Science >Law,” DOAJ, October 23, 2013,

[14] CrossRef, “Title List,” October 21, 2013,  A list of U.S. law journals currently listed in DOAJ, along with a notation for those not using DOIs, is included in my Notes app on the L.J. eds. Facebook Page.

[15] DOAJ, “Summary of All Feedback,” item #8.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Keele discussed this as a possible option for law journals in general.  Keele, “Primer,” 39.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

A linkrot remedy for legal citations: links and a preserve for cited sources

Linkrot made headlines last month as a malady infecting half of the high Court’s citations to uniform resource locators (URLs)—“In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere” reads the headline in the New York Times Sidebar.[1]

Photo of a broken bridge by FarTripper. Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The broken bridge by FarTripper
Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

And in another, Wall Street Journal blogger Jacob Gershman reports, “Supreme Court Says It’s Resigned to ‘Linkrot.’”[2]  While a Supreme Court spokeswoman quoted in the blog post confirms that the Court archives its cited web sources in the case files, lack of access to a disappeared Internet source relied upon in an opinion is problematic. There is always the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, but its intermittent captures do not include every page on the Internet[3] and cannot reliably retrieve the cited source.

According to a recent study, some law journal citations are just as blighted by rot. This post looks at the study and describes a just-launched service to remedy rotten links in law journal citations.  But first, let’s get our rot lingo right.

Linkrot and reference rot defined

Photo showing banana hands with crown rot

Crown rot of banana hands
Scot Nelson. Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The term linkrot personally conjures up images of stem rot or fruit drop induced by plant pathogens, and for good reason.  Linkrot is when the URL that is the link between the citation and the cited source no longer works.[4]  It is not to be confused with the closely related reference rot, where the cited link works but the content on the page has changed.[5]  In either case, the desired fruit can no longer be found at the end of the vine.

The rot problem

Over the years there have been a few studies on the extent of linkrot in Supreme Court decisions, law journals, and legal and policy materials,[6] as well as in medical, computer science, and library science scholarship.[7]  The study that triggered the headlines described above was reported in a working paper posted to the Social Science Research Network by Harvard law and computer science professor Jonathan Zittrain and law student Kendra Albert.  The authors distinguish their study from the others as one that deploys a methodology designed to ferret out reference rot in working links.[8]

Zittrain and Albert investigated linkrot and reference rot in three Harvard law journals[9] and in all U.S. Supreme Court decisions (a total of 555 URLs since 1996, when the first hyperlink was cited).[10]  In “spot-checking” those URLS that linked to a working page, the authors found that over 70% of the URLs in the law journal citations and 50% of the URLs cited in U.S. Supreme Court decisions “do not link to the originally cited information.”[11]

The study also critiques efforts and suggestions aimed at solving the problem, including WebCite, a permanent linking and archiving service that is presently threatening to close unless donations are forthcoming; the digital object identifier system (DOI), which would require participation by the content creators; and the Internet Archive, where coverage is hit or miss and where storage and ownership are centered in a single organization.[12]  The authors then discuss a new permanent linking and archiving service that operates across a distributed network of libraries—[13]

The solution is a webpage archiving system developed by the Harvard Law School Library and the Harvard Innovation Lab.[14]  Founding members of the project include CloudFlare, Inc., the Digital Public Library of America, the Internet Archive, and 26 academic law libraries in the United States and England.[15]  The service allows authors or editors to create a permanent, unalterable cache of Internet content being cited in a legal or scholarly work[16] that is then retrievable by a link assigned to the cache.[17]

According to the Terms of Service, the user must have the rights needed to both direct that the content be archived and to grant Perma whatever rights it needs to provide the service in relation to the content.[18]  The user also warrants that archiving the content does not violate the copyrights or rights of others.[19]  The content cached must be freely available on the Internet (cannot be paid-only or login-only content) and must be “cited in a legal or scholarly work.”[20]  Content is submitted at the user’s risk.[21]

The guide Permanent Links for Law Review Citations: Perma, DOI, and Handle, prepared by the Boston College Law Library, describes the target links for archiving as ephemeral websites like blogs and working papers and other content that does not already have a stable URL.[22]  Screens shots of content viewed online, like pop-ups or ads that are temporally experienced, are other possible candidates for archiving when cited in a scholarly work.[23]  Content that may be difficult to archive using is discussed in the guide.[24]

The service is still being beta tested and, from what I can tell, implemented at some law schools.  Although it is not yet open to the public, Perma is considering requests for beta access on the home page.  When the service is up and running, it will be free.[25]

How works

The way this will work is that an author writing a scholarly article pastes the URL of the cited Internet source into the box on the Perma home page.   Perma downloads the content at the URL and creates a new link.[26]  This potentially creates an immediate record of the cited content at the moment the author types the citation into a work, preventing reference rot from the get go.  For the Perma links and caches to be permanent, however, they need to be vested.[27]  That’s where you, the law journals, come in.

Journals can open a vesting account by asking a participating library to sponsor it.   The library can sponsor a journal if it is “a scholarly journal of the sort that a library would subscribe to and archive.”[28]  The role of the vesting members (or journal staff) is to verify that the link in fact points to the cited material and that it is being cited in a scholarly work, warranting its being vested.[29]  Journals with vesting accounts may also create links for citations to URLs when an author has not provided them.[30]

Photo of Two Women Standing in a Kitchen Pantry. Pantry Contains Preserved Fruits and Vegetables, 1946

Mrs. Fidel Romero Proudly Exhibits Her Canned Food
New Mexico, 1946; Local Identifier: NWDNS-33-S-12785
Still Picture Records Section (College Park, MD)
National Archives and Records Administration
No known restrictions on use

Vested links and content are forever in and will not be deleted or taken down unless legally ordered.[31]  Unvested links that an author creates are preserved for two years with the option to renew.[32]  Once a link is vested, what makes the cache permanent is a distributed network of libraries around the country that stores and preserves copies of the data in the event that it is compromised at one location.[33]

What an archived page looks like

This is a link [] to Zittrain’s blog post on The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It.  The metadata on the page indicates that the cache was created on October 2, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.  From here, you have several viewing options.  You can view the cache (1) as a live web site as it presently exists (the default view), (2) as an archived site (no new content since the link was created can be viewed but links from the page cached are active), (3) as a screen capture of the page (no clickable links), or (4) as extracted text containing only the main body of the archived page and none of the page’s sidebars, footers, and other features.  

Access to analytics

Perma tracks the number of views of a cache and displays the statistic at the top of the page.  By creating a new link to that now-archived content, the question arises whether the web analytics will be available to the creator of the archived page.[34]  On Zittrain’s page cited above, the default view is to the live site.  In fiddling with a link to my own blog, accessing the blog from the link appeared to register views in’s statistics.  Also, Perma recommends citing the source URL with the link following in brackets,[35] which could still generate clicks to the original site.

Other possible uses

Perma is focusing the service on citations in legal scholarship for the time being, but as Zittrain told the New York Times, “there is no reason . . . why it could not also work for the Supreme Court.”[36]  Another possible use of links is in the open repository of U.S. case law being developed by the Free Law Project at the UC Berkeley School of Information.[37]

Although vesting accounts are intended for “scholarly journals and similar entities,”[38] professor blogs may be likely candidates for vesting accounts as well, to the extent that they cite to ephemeral sources.   It would also be a great tool for noncommercial scholarly journal publishers in other fields, were the capacity there.

Kudos to the creators and partners

Fictional catalog card created for with the annotations "BUILT & RUN BY LIBRARIES," "No more 404-Not Found," "Linkrot Remedy," "Preserve Your Cited Sources", “Built & Run by Libraries”
Catalog card created by ninarose15
Online card generator by jblyberg,

This is a much-needed, cheap (free!), and easy-to-use tool for authors and law journals to capture, preserve, and permanently link to Internet sources cited in footnotes, before they disappear.  Kudos to the law libraries, legal experts, researchers, and innovators involved!

[1] Adam Liptak, “In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere,” Sidebar, New York Times, September 23, 2103,

[2] Jacob Gershman, “Supreme Court Says It’s Resigned to ‘Linkrot,’ ” Law Blog, Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2013,

[3] Nicholas Tomaiuolo, “DOIs, URLs, LoCKSS, and Missing Links,” Searcher (July/August 2006): 22.

[4] Jonathan Zittrain and Kendra Albert, “Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations” (Social Science Research Network, working paper series, September 21, 2013): 1,

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 2–4.

[7] Tomaiuolo, “Missing Links,” 19–20.

[8] Zittrain and Albert, “Perma,” 4.

[9] The journals that were the subject of the study are the Harvard Law Review, Harvard Law School Human Rights Journal, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, beginning with volumes in 1999, 1997, and 1996, respectively (ibid., 1–2, 5).

[10] Ibid., 7–8.

[11] Ibid., 2, 6, 8.

[12] Ibid., 9–10.

[13] Ibid., 10–11.

[14] Ian Chant, “ Aims to Bring Staying Power to Online Legal Citations,” Library Journal October 2, 2013,

[15] “About Perma,”, accessed October 12, 2013,

[16] “Perma Terms of Service,” ¶ 5, effective September 23, 2013, accessed October 12, 2013,

[17] “About Perma,”

[18] Ibid., ¶ 5(a)(iii) & (c).

[19] Ibid., ¶ 5(a)(iv).

[20] Ibid., ¶ 5(a)(i).

[21] Ibid., ¶¶ 5(b), 8, 10(c).

[22] Boston College Law Library, Permanent Links for Law Review Citations: Perma, DOI, and Handle (October 1, 2013): 1,

[23] Zittrain and Albert, “Perma,” 11.

[24] Boston College Law Library, Permanent Links, 2–3.

[25] “Perma Terms,” ¶ 10(c).

[26] “About Perma,”

[27] “General/User FAQs,”, accessed October 12, 2013,

[28] “Librarian FAQs,”, accessed October 12, 2013,

[29] “About Perma,”; “General/User FAQs,”

[30] “Vesting Member FAQs,”, accessed October 12, 2013,

[31] “General/User FAQs,”

[32] “About Perma,”

[33] Chant, “Staying Power.”

[34] Ed Summers, “On,” Inkdroid (blog), September 26, 2013,

[35] “Vesting Member FAQs,”

[36] Liptak, “Web Links to Nowhere.”

[37] Chant, “Staying Power.”

[38] “General/User FAQs,”

Generate buzz, @connect, and #LeadOthers to your journal on Twitter

I ran a few searches on Twitter and found that of the 600+ student-edited law journals being published in the U.S., roughly 125 journals have Twitter accounts.  The question is how much are law journals using Twitter, and in what ways?

If your journal’s Twitter account pretty much sleeps until a new issue is published, Tweets out article titles, and then goes quietly back into its profile page, consider getting out on Twitter a little more and stretching your journal’s wings.  This blog post will talk about some strategies.  If your journal is new to Twitter or doesn’t yet have an account, check out this Prezi slideshow “What the *Tweet*? Social Media for Grad Students” by Melonie Fullick, and read on.

Engage users, brand your journal

Twitter is great for sharing information about your journal, but its potential for engaging users or drawing them into a journal’s activities are limited only by your imagination (and perhaps the school’s social media policy or guidelines, so check them out).Blue bird Twitter logo

If you missed the recent blog post by Professor Derek Muller showcasing the great things going on at Case Western Reserve Law Review, it really is worth a read.  Among other innovations, the law review uses Twitter to accept submissions (apparently via direct messaging with links to the author’s submission once the author follows the journal on Twitter).  Earlier this year, the journal conducted an impromptu Miranda symposium on Twitter, where it reTweeted law professor comments and Tweeted related links.  Search #TwitterSymposium, or check out the April 19 Tweets on @CaseWResLRev’s profile.

The law review also just wound up a campaign soliciting authors to “tweet review” one of its articles, and it offered a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Lego prize to participants.  Go to @CaseWResLRev’s full profile and see its tweets from September 11 to October 4 for campaign details, for @replies to some of its followers with friendly nudges to participate, for the unveiling of the SCOTUS Lego designer (a high school student), and for the resulting “tweet reviews” of articles.

These kinds of campaigns show that the journal is innovative, engage the audience with the journal’s content, get user’s to generate content that is desired by the journal, and create an all-around buzz.  Great work!  Hey @CaseWResLRev, how about posting or Tweeting a photo of one of the desktop SCOTUS Lego prizes?Text box describing what an @username is, how to @reply, and what the #studentedited hashtag is

Live Tweeting of events is another strategy for engaging distributed followers in journal activities on campus.  The New York Law School Law Review (@NYLSLawReview) hosted a few symposia on campus recently where it Tweeted a play-by-play of speaker comments (search #IncomeTaxNYLS and #MLKnyls on Twitter).  The law review also Tweeted links to videos of the MLK symposium on YouTube.

Using play-by-play of another sort, the Tulsa Law Review (@TulsaLawReview) engaged users in newsworthy topics by curating stories on Storify and Tweeting about their works in progress to get its followers involved.  See the law review’s full profile for the January and February 2012 posts.

Surely there are other great examples!  Comment below or Tweet @ninarose15 if your journal has a highly active account or innovative account users on board.

A word about altmetrics

There are many metrics that have traditionally been used to gauge the impact of a journal, article, or scholar.  In a digital environment that is increasingly open and social, more granular metrics are available that may take into account a variety of alternative data sources, including the number and quality of Facebook likes, Twitter Tweets, blog citations, mentions and recommendations around the web, and social bookmarks.  Metrics based on data from the social web are referred to as altmetrics.  Metrics that zoom in at the article-level might combine any number of altmetrics with traditional measures, as described in the 2013 primer on article-level metrics by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) (p. 5).

While rigorous research on the efficacy and reliability of the tools and data used to generate alternative measures has only just begun (p. 294), scholars, students, and the general public continue to push social buttons and read and share open research.  Were altmetrics tools like these and these to gain acceptance alongside traditional metrics in law (and perhaps become customized for legal scholarship), the social ground and exposure your journal and its content will already have gained just might boost its impact ratings at the journal and article level.

Quiet stream or raging river

Twitter is about following other people, entities, media outlets, and more to find information, share ideas, participate in the conversation, and make connections.  The more users you follow, the faster your Twitter feed (or “home timeline”) moves.  Creating lists of select users you follow (or creating separate “streams” for Tweets using groups of users, lists, hashtags, and keywords on Hoot Suite) can make it easier to keep up with a raging Twitter feed.

A list of law journals on Twitter

If you haven’t yet read my About this blog page, you should know that I created this blog to see what interest there is among student editors in a blog about law journal publishing (partly because I had to create a social media campaign for a class, and partly because I’m interested in the topic).  If it so happens that my blog disappears or sleeps after the semester, I hope to at least have made the digital community of law journals a closer one.  So go ahead and find each other on my Twitter list @ninarose15.  It’s called “LJs on twitter.”  You can also subscribe to the list.  Comment below or Tweet me if I missed your journal!

How is your journal using Twitter?

I’m sure to have only skimmed the surface here, so share a Comment about what your journal is doing to increase its reach and impact, and I just might give your journal a Tweeting on #FollowFriday or find some other way to “share alike.”

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