09 September 2006

Sorry, Larry...

...but I can't agree on this one. You write:

Check out webcitation.org -- a project run at the University of Toronto. The basic idea is to create a permanent URL for citations, so that when the Supreme Court, e.g., cites a webpage, there's a reliable way to get back to the webpage it cited. They do this by creating a reference URL, which then will refer back to an archive of the page created when the reference was created. E.g., I entered the URL for my blog ("http://lessig.org/blog"). It then created an archive URL "http://www.webcitation.org/5IlFymF33". Click on it and it should take you to an archive page for my blog.

This is the TinyURL problem all over again. It destroys one of the greatest features of the Web: its transparency. You can generally see where you are going and some of the structure of what you will find there. TinyURLs and Larry's recommendation do away with this.

Another point is that it's actually harder to enter gobbledygook like "http://www.webcitation.org/5IlFymF33" than even long, but comprehensible URLs, so this system doesn't even achieve the goal of making addresses easier to enter.

Agreed, we need an archive of the Web: but we already have one in the wonderful Internet Archive. What we really need to do is to support it better, with more dosh and more infrastructure.

No comments: