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