I just heard via Jeff Cheney that CBS (TV) is reporting that Saddam Hussein has (possibly) been captured. Amusingly enough, neither CBS.com nor CBSNews.com has anything about this at this very moment, though no doubt they will soon.
On the other hand, CNN.com already has the story, on its own page, where I can link to it, and where I’m pretty sure that the link will still work a year from now, and maybe even five years from now. Anyone for 10 years? (Long odds, but I give CNN about 50/50.) CNN is doing a very good job in my opinion.
Permanent links are a very important part of Web infrastructure. Whether they link to a page, a paragraph in a page, a weblog post, or a whole site doesn’t matter. Web content should be like books — if I can link to it today, that link should work in the (forseeable) future.
Would you buy a book that dissolved into thin air two years from now, and all citations of the book in other publications suddenly became illegible at the same time? I wouldn’t. That’s why I’m committed to keeping my content up basically forever, or at least for as much of forever as I can reasonably control.
Maybe the web needs some longevity policy guidelines that we can all follow?