A new study of linkrot in Digital Humanities Quarterly, “Reference Rot in the Digital Humanities Literature”.

“[in the DHQ sample] over a quarter of sampled citations are links to websites. Over 30% of these references are [now] inaccessible or have additional access barriers.”

Perhaps we need a copyright-busting AI for this? Imagine that, with ‘one press of a button’, a ref-bot AI goes and visits/reads the reference links at the time of the article’s publication, and thus produces a unified set of summaries. Perhaps with each summary weighted towards topics being discussed in the paragraph before the point-of-citation. The result would then be offered alongside the published article, as an appendix. Since AI-made text cannot be in copyright, the publishers’s lawyers would presumably not swoon at such an idea. Of course, the author would then have to fact-check and human-approve it as correct. But that should not be to onerous.