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ICSTI: Online citations don't last....

  • To: epc@iucr.org
  • Subject: ICSTI: Online citations don't last....
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 14:46:01 +0000
  • Organization: IUCr

----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: Online citations don't last....
Date: Tuesday 15 March 2005 9:13 am
From: Barry Mahon <barry.mahon@IOL.IE>

A study conducted by two academics at Iowa State University has shown a
remarkably high rate of "decay" for online citations. Michael Bugeja,
professor of journalism and communication, and Daniela Dimitrova,
assistant professor of communication, looked at five prestigious
communication-studies journals from 2000 to 2003 and found 1,126
footnotes that cite online resources. Of those, 373 did not work at
all, a decay rate of 33 percent; of those that worked, only 424 took
users to information relevant to the citation. In one of the journals
in the study, 167 of 265 citations did not work. Bugeja compared the
current situation to that of Shakespearean plays in the early days of
printing, when many copies of plays were fraught with errors due to the
instability of the printing medium. Anthony T. Grafton, a professor of
history at Princeton University and author of a book on footnotes,
agreed that citation decay is a real and growing problem, describing
the situation as "a world in which documentation and verification melt
into air."
Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 March 2005 (sub. req'd)



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Peter Strickland
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