The Internet Is Rotting (theatlantic.com)

apropos: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2021/06/the-internet-is-a-collective-hallucination/619320/

This article reports the huge impact of "link rot" (dead links) on the Web.

I am not surprised by the following results. It appears that most of the academic organization I have been a member of have no way to preserve long term links. Just think of all the links to pointing to PhD student websites, which will be rotten in five years.

Our studies are in line with others. As far back as 2001, a team at Princeton University studied the persistence of web references in scientific articles, finding that the raw number of URLs contained in academic articles was increasing but that many of the links were broken, including 53 percent of those in the articles they had collected from 1994. Thirteen years later, six researchers created a data set of more than 3.5 million scholarly articles about science, technology, and medicine, and determined that one in five no longer points to its originally intended source. In 2016, an analysis with the same data set found that 75 percent of all references had drifted.

It also writes about the ebooks ownership and the possibility for the "seller" to update the ebook after having sold it.

Now it’s far easier to make demands for a refinement or an outright change of the offending sentence or paragraph. So long as those remedies are no longer fanciful, the terms of a settlement can include them, as well as a promise not to advertise that a change has even been made. And a lawsuit need never be filed; only a demand made, publicly or privately, and not one grounded in a legal claim, but simply one of outrage and potential publicity. Rereading an old Kindle favorite might then become reading a slightly (if momentously) tweaked version of that old book, with only a nagging feeling that it isn’t quite how one remembers it.

This isn’t hypothetical. This month, the best-selling author Elin Hilderbrand published a new novel. The novel, widely praised by critics, included a snippet of dialogue in which one character makes a wry joke to another about spending the summer in an attic on Nantucket, “like Anne Frank.” Some readers took to social media to criticize this moment between characters as anti-Semitic. The author sought to explain the character’s use of the analogy before offering an apology and saying that she had asked her publisher to remove the passage from digital versions of the book immediately.

At the end, the article presents some platform and techniques for creating web archives.

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