How to deal with institutions that simply don’t “get” the internet? In response to a call by Body and Soul, I wrote the L.A. Times and requested that they institute permanent links to stories so that scholars and bloggers can link to their stories without worrying that these links would become out-of-date. Not providing permanent links to individual articles seriously undermines the usefulness of electronic sources. Calpundit calls this “linkrot.” So how did the L.A. Times respond to my query? Read for yourself:
We do not recommend links to our specific stories because the Web site addresses (URLs) for the majority of our stories expire quickly.
No, really? That’s the problem I tried to bring to their attention. I don’t mind so much if they want to charge for access to their archives, but they should follow the N.Y. Times policy of providing an abstract and offering a low pay-per-view charge to read the article. I can then easily find the article by using the abstract to search on Lexus-nexus (to which my university subscribes). But to have a policy of deliberately breaking links? How stupid can you get! Not to mention responding to a letter about this problem by re-stating the problem as a matter of policy.