Online service takes on the problem of links that disappear overnight.

Scholars and casual readers alike often run into this problem: While reading a story or a paper or a post, you come across a link to external, essential information and, upon clicking through, are greeted with a 404: Not Found.

In one study published in the journal Science, 13% of Internet references in scholarly articles were inactive after only 27 months. Another problem is that cited webpages may change, so that readers see something different than what the citing author saw.

Specifically developed with scholarly web citations in mind, the on-demand archiving system WebCite seeks to make this a problem of the past. Using a form on the company’s website or a bookmarklet available through the site, authors, editors, and readers alike can generate a permanent reference URL for any web page. This URL will link to a duplicate of the page, exactly as it appeared on the day of viewing.

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