Here today…gone tomorrow

Grab the data while you can.  I guess that is what every online genealogist needs to have as their motto these days.

Genealogy WarningToday I uploaded a very useful (helpful) WordPress plugin called:

  • Broken Link Checker- It checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found.

Well much to my dismay and surprise when I installed and ran the plugin, it found nearly 175 out of 1055 links ManyRoads to be broken or redirected.  That seemed like a lot to me.  I had been running several ‘free’ services to check my site for broken links and every week; they were reporting ‘happily’ that everything was ‘just fine’- zero broken links. Obviously, these checkers were not doing their job very well!

In addition to noticing that a site as large as ManyRoads needs good automation, I think I can safely conclude you ought never to trust that another website will either stay online or keep reference information, which you need, intact.  I even discovered lost links to lengthy articles from Wikipedia.  They were simply removed!

My recommendation for self-protection is that when you find something useful and relevant do the following:

  • take a copy (keep it offline)
  • ask permission to publish (Keep it offline if you must); do not violate copyright laws!
  • check your sources periodically to see if they are still alive
  • if not… well then I really do not know what to advise. On ManyRoads I am simply stating that the material is no longer available where I found it, placing a date on the text and removing the link (Since WordPress keeps backups of my Pages/Posts hopefully I can find an old link if I need it.)
  • clean up your dead links; you need to do that in order to keep your search engine optimization in good health.

More later….