PizzaFace writes "Contributions to science, law, and other scholarly fields rely for their authority on citations to earlier publications. The ease of publishing on the web has made it an explosively popular medium, and web pages are increasingly cited as authorities in other publications. But easy come, easy go: web pages often get moved or removed, and publications that cite them lose their authorities. The Washington Post reports on the loss of knowledge in ephemeral web pages, which a medical researcher compares to the burning of ancient Alexandria's library. As the board chairman of the Internet Archive says, "The average lifespan of a Web page today is 100 days. This is no way to run a culture.""
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