A lot of time, we link to a website or an ongoing discussion rather than copying and pasting info over onto to Fanlore. But once a website or a link is dead, that data is lost and your Fanlore entry may lack context or key info.
Your best shot is to head over to the Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) and see if the website has been archived. But since the Wayback Machine crawls and archives randomly, you won't know if your citation can be resurrected until it is too late.
. A service designed for scholars to create a static snapshot of a website so that you can cite it (and the page contents) for longer periods. It is user driven - you have to submit the website link before
the website goes down (when you're creating your Fanlore entry). It comes with a few caveats: it won't create a snapshot of pages that have the 'no robots' code. It won't grab locked content and if you're grabbing a page from an adult Livejournal community, all you may see is the 'Adults only' warning. And it is intended to be used in addition to the direct link to the website, not in place.
I've tested WebCite on the Professionals Fandom Timeline
which pulls the bulk of its content from a few key LJ threads. We have already laboriously copied the data over to Fanlore (with permission), but it seemed like a good test candidate.
I also used WebCite to create links to a Stargate Award website
that is not currently in the WayBack Machine.
If you have used this service before, or know anything more about it, please drop a note. I think it will be particularly useful for blogs and forum posts which are prone to vanish quickly. It comes with an easy to use Bookmarklet that will allow you to cite a webpage with one click.edited
: I had a brief discussion with someone about WebCite in which they expressed discomfort with the use of this tool (and about whether aspects of the Fanlore project in general could be seen as a breach of fannish community mores/trust). So I'll toss out this narrower question: How does using Webcite differ from our using the WayBack Machine/Internet Archive or Google as our citation sources? Both Webcite and the Wayback Machine are using the same caching process and both store the website snapshot on their servers. What I like about WebCite is that it is much more limited - it cites only the one page and does not scrape and archive the entire website (like the WayBack Machine). This offers us a better level of control over what we're citing to, makes certain we give proper credit to the source of info and grabs the smallest portion of material. In other words, it seems (to me) to be a better form of 'fair use'.
Thoughts? Input? Other ways of looking at the 'what to link, what to quote, what to cite
' question? Is any use of any tool that caches a website (ex. Google, WayBack Machine, LJ Seek etc) something to avoid? I realize there may not be a single or uniform opinion, but like Fanlore, I think that plural POVs are good.edited to add
: I have to keep in mind that Fandom - and Fanlore - is not operating in isolation. Scholars, other Wikis, libraries, and historians are running into the same questions and looking at and evaluating the same tools. In fact Wired had a recent article about the US and UK digital archives and their reliance on the Oakland Archive Policy of 2001. More here
a recent Library Science article discussing yet another 'caching' service: Memento Web
: links to legal articles on digital preservation and caching below