At Wed, 16 Sep 2009 13:39:42 +0100,
> Thanks Erik,
> Yes - generally references to web sites require a 'route of access'
> (i.e. URL) and 'date accessed' - because, of course, the content of
> the website may change over time.
> Strictly you are right - if you are going to link to the resource it
> should be to the version of the page that was available at the time
> the author accessed it. This time aspect is something I'm thinking
> about more as a result of the conversations on this thread. The
> 'date accessed' seems like a good way of differentiating different
> possible resolutions of a single URL. Unfortunately references don't
> have a specified format for date, and they can be expressed in a
> variety of ways - typically you'll see something like 'Accessed 14
> September 2009', but as far as I know it could be 'Accessed
> 14/09/09' or I guess 'Accessed 09/14/09' etc.
> It is also true that the intent of a reference can vary - sometimes
> the intent is to point at a website, and sometimes to point to the
> content of a website at a moment in time (thinking loosely in FRBR
> terms I guess you'd say that sometimes you want to reference the
> work/expression, and sometimes the manifestation? - although I know
> FRBR gets complicated when you look at digital representations, a
> whole other discussion)
> To be honest, our project is not going to delve into this too much -
> limited both by time (we finish in February) and practicalities (I
> just don't think the library/institution is going to want to look at
> snapshotting websites, or finding archived versions for each course
> we run - I suspect it would be less effort to update the course to
> use a more current reference in the cases this problem really
> manifests itself).
> One of the other things I've come to realise is that although it is
> nice to be able to access material that is referenced, the reference
> primarily recognises the work of others, and puts your work into
> context - access is only a secondary concern. It is perfectly
> possible and OK to reference material that is not generally
> available, as a reader I may not have access to certain material,
> and over time material is destroyed so when referencing rare or
> unique texts it may become absolutely impossible to access the
> referenced source.
> I think for research publications there is a genuine and growing
> issue - especially when we start to consider the practice of
> referencing datasets which is just starting to become common
> practice in scientific research. If the dataset grows over time,
> will it be possible to see the version of the dataset used when
> doing a specific piece of research?
You might find the WebCite service  to be of some use. Of course it
cannot work retroactively, so it is best if researchers use it
in the first place.
;; Erik Hetzner, California Digital Library
;; gnupg key id: 1024D/01DB07E3