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….