The amusing and edifying resource Word Spy identifies a July 1, 1996 quotation as the earliest citation of the term "link rot". So this is an issue that has plagued the World Wide Web since its earliest days. Now, almost 2 decades in, link rot has ballooned into a major problem, far beyond the simple annoyance of being confronted with a 404- error page. The actual problem is not at all amusing. According to "Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations," a recant Harvard Law School study, more than 70% of the URLs within the Harvard Law Review and other journals, and 50% of the URLs found within US Supreme Court opinions, do not link to the originally cited information. Imagine the frustration for the legal researcher and the ramifications for everyone involved.
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