For all its use to researchers, the Internet can be an awfully ephemeral thing. Websites changes hands, services that were once free land behind paywalls, and servers go offline. Whatever the reason, the result is the same—all too often, a once-valid link no longer directs users to the information they need. For many of us, the familiar 404 message, indicating that a page can’t be found, is a common but inconsequential hassle of Internet use. For scholars and legal professionals, though, being unable to find a piece of information cited in a court case can be a costly and time-consuming hurdle. Now Perma.cc, a new service spearheaded by the Harvard Law School Library, is aiming to put a stop to disappearing links to citations in legal documents and court decisions by creating individual caches of content at the moment that authors and journal editors cite it.
Reference management software—which allows researchers to collect bibliographic references quickly, properly cite and organize them, often share them with others, and more—has become an integral part of the research process for many graduate students. Such software is used by millions in libraries around the world. In this installment of Product Watch, LJ looks at five popular tools in use right now.