We’ve all experienced it–clicking on a reference link in a journal article, only to get that “404 File not Found” alert. Drat! And you probably really wanted to view that article. Next, you probably will search for the reference and MAYBE find it. But, there’s a better way . . .
If you use WebCite, you can create a web archive of all of your websites listed in the references section of your paper, so your readers will ALWAYS be able to view the website you referenced. It’s really easy to do and everyone should be doing this now. Here’s what you need to know:
It’s easy and only takes about 30 seconds. Really.
You don’t even need to fill out of the metadata (that’s optional), and WebCite will provide you with an archive URL for your reference, which you can copy and paste after your original URL. Here’s an example of how that reference would look with the WebCite archive included:
Plunkett, John. “Sorrell accuses Murdoch of panic buying”, The Guardian, October 27, 2005, URL: http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1601858,00.html, Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/5Kt3PxfFl on December 4th, 2006.
The first URL is the one you found when you read the article and the archived one is what you created through WebCite. It’s so ridiculously easy and should provide a more helpful reference list in all of your papers and publications.
So, try out WebCite and use it for all of your papers where you cite URLs in your references. And if you are wondering how I found out about WebCite, it’s quite simple. I needed to use this archiving feature in an article I was submitting for an online publication. At first I was upset about having to do additional work, but then I realized what a benefit this would be to my readers. And I want to have happy readers!