W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > February 2009

Re: broken links in W3C documents and recommendations

From: John Kemp <john.kemp@nokia.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 11:42:53 -0500
Cc: "www-tag@w3.org WG" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <187EA754-DD5C-471B-BDAA-C92F530E0836@nokia.com>
To: ext Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>

On Feb 11, 2009, at 7:00 PM, ext Larry Masinter wrote:

[...]

> I think the response should be two-fold:
>
> a)      When publishing a document as a Note, Working Draft or any  
> other permanent W3C publication,  the criteria for publication  
> should examine any hyperlinks in the document and attempt to assure  
> (from author or editor assertion or some other means) that there is  
> a reasonable commitment that the referenced document will be  
> available indefinitely. This policy might have prevented the current  
> situation.

I certainly agree that we should attempt to verify our bibliographic  
references. One way I'm familiar with from previous standards I've  
edited is the following:

(From the Chicago Manual of Style [1])

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, eds., The Founders’ Constitution  
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/ 
  (accessed June 27, 2006).

I would suggest adding a 'last accessed' date to references that  
contain links.

>
> b)      In cases where current W3C permanent publications contain  
> links that are broken (discovered either automatically or noted and  
> reported by an individual), I suggest the W3C create a permanent  
> “reference” page for the now-broken hyperlink, add to the  
> “reference” page some possible alternative sources of the same  
> document, and change the hyperlink in the W3C document to point to  
> the “reference” page.
>
> For example, one might create a web page:
>
>   http://www.w3.org/2009/broken-links/www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-eastlake-cturi-03.txt.html
>
> which could contain:
>
>                   A W3C document originally contained a pointer to
>                           http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-eastlake-cturi-03.txt
>                That document is no longer available, but an  
> alternate source for that document can be found at
>                          http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-eastlake-cturi-03
>
>
> The goal is to establish a general way of dealing with “broken  
> links” by replacing them with “cool” URIs maintained under W3C  
> control.

The question I have is whether it is important that URL references  
always work? Isn't the intent that a human has enough information in  
the reference to search for the referenced document herself if the  
automated mechanism results in a broken reference?

And secondly, the link to the 'broken links' document is not itself a  
bibliographic reference to the original referenced document. Thus we  
have introduced a new indirection .  Why would we not instead simply  
update the original document's references section with something like  
the text you propose, rather than creating a new 'broken links'  
document? Does there actually need to be a 'cool URI' in the reference?

Regards,

- johnk

[1] http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
Received on Thursday, 12 February 2009 16:43:50 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Thursday, 26 April 2012 12:48:12 GMT