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URL http://www.webcitation.org
Commercial? No
Available language(s) English
Alexa rank 159,668[1]
Current status Online

WebCite is a service that archives web pages on demand. Authors can subsequently cite the archived web pages through WebCite, in addition to citing the original URL of the web page. Readers are able to retrieve the archived web pages indefinitely, without regard to whether the original web page is revised or removed (so-called link rot). Such archiving is especially important in the academic context. WebCite is a non-profit consortium supported by publishers and editors, and it can be used by individual authors and readers without charge. It is a member of International Internet Preservation Consortium.

Rather than relying on a web crawler which archives pages in a "random" fashion, WebCite users who want to cite web pages in a scholarly article can initiate the archiving process. They then cite—instead of or in addition to the original URL—a WebCite address, with an identifier that specifies a snapshot of the contents of the particular page they meant to cite.

One may archive all types of web content, including HTML web pages, PDF files, style sheets, JavaScript and digital images. WebCite also archives metadata about the collected resources such as access time, MIME type, and content length. This metadata is useful in establishing the authenticity and provenance of the archived collection.



Conceived in 1997 by Gunther Eysenbach, WebCite was publicly described the following year when an article on Internet quality control declared that such a service could also measure the citation impact of web pages.[2] In the same year, a pilot service was set up at the address webcite.net (see Template:Waybackdate). Shortly thereafter, Google and the Internet Archive entered the market, seemingly reducing the need for a service like WebCite.

The WebCite idea was revived in 2003, when a study published in the journal Science concluded that no appropriate and agreed-on archiving solution yet existed for publishing.[3] Neither the Internet Archive nor Google allows for “on-demand” archiving by authors, and they do not have interfaces to scholarly journals and publishers to automate the archiving of cited links. By 2008, over 200 journals had begun routinely using WebCite.[4]

WebCite is a member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium.[5] It "feeds its content" to other digital preservation projects, including the Internet Archive.[5] Lawrence Lessig, an American academic who writes extensively on copyright and technology, used WebCite in his amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court case of MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd..[6]

Copyright issues

WebCite maintains the legal position that its archiving activities are allowed by the copyright doctrines of fair use and implied license.[5] To support the fair use argument, WebCite notes that its archived copies are transformative, socially valuable for academic research, and not harmful to the market value of any copyrighted work.[5] WebCite argues that caching and archiving web pages is not considered a copyright infringement when the archiver offers the copyright owner to "opt-out" of the archive system, thus creating an implied license.[5] To that end, WebCite will not archive Web sites in contrary to no-cache and no-archive metadata, as well as robot exclusion standards, the absence of which creates an "implied license" for web archive services to preserve the content.[5]

In a similar case involving Google's web caching activities, on January 19, 2006, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada agreed with that argument in the case of Field vs Google (CV-S-04-0413-RCJ-LRL), holding that fair use and an "implied license" meant that Google's caching of Web pages did not constitute copyright violation.[5] The "implied license" referred to general Internet standards.[5]


WebCite allows on-demand prospective archiving. It is not crawler-based; pages are only archived if the citing author or publisher requests it. No cached copy will appear in a WebCite search unless the author or another person has specifically cached it beforehand.

To initiate the caching and archiving of a page, an author may use WebCite's "archive" menu option or create a WebCite bookmarklet that will allow web surfers to cache pages just by clicking a button in their bookmarks folder.

One can retrieve or cite archived pages through a transparent format such as


where URL is the URL that was archived, and DATE indicates the caching date. For example,


or the alternate short form http://webcitation.org/5W56XTY5h retrieves an archived copy of the URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page that is closest to the date of March 4, 2008.


June-July 2009 Outages

In June 2009, attempts to create new citations failed. The project's creator wrote on June 19 that increased server load generated by Wikipedia's WebCiteBOT prompted migration of the service to a new server.[7] By the end of June 2009, attempts to access the project's website returned a message that it was "undergoing maintenance", and previously archived links became inaccessible. The archiving service resumed operation by the second week of July 2009, and previously archived links became accessible again.[8]

Business model

The term WebCite is a registered trademark.[9] WebCite does not charge individual users, journal editors and publishers[10] any fee to use their service. WebCite earns revenue from publishers who want to "have their publications analyzed and cited webreferences archived",[11] and accepts donations. Early support was from the University of Toronto.[12]

See also


  1. "webcitation.org - Traffic Details from Alexa". Alexa. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/webcitation.org. Retrieved 2009-10-28. "159,668 Alexa Traffic Rank" 
  2. Eysenbach, Gunther; Diepgen, Thomas L. (28 November 1998). "Towards quality management of medical information on the internet: evaluation, labelling, and filtering of information". British Medical Journal (London: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd) 317 (7171): 1496–1502. BL Shelfmark 2330.000000. ISSN 0959-8146. OCLC 206118688. PMID 9831581. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/317/7171/1496. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  3. Dellavalle, Robert P; Hester, Eric J; Heilig, Lauren F; Drake, Amanda L; Kuntzman, Jeff W; Graber, Marla; Schilling, Lisa M (2003-10-31). "Going, Going, Gone: Lost Internet References". Science (Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science) 302 (5646): 787–788. doi:10.1126/science.1088234. BL Shelfmark 8130.000000. ISSN 0036-8075. OCLC 211169635. PMID 14593153. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/302/5646/787. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  4. Eysenbach, Gunther; Trudel, Mathieu (2005). "Going, Going, Still There: Using the WebCite Service to Permanently Archive Cited Web Pages". Journal of Medical Internet Research (Toronto: Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network) 7 (5): e60. doi:10.2196/jmir.7.5.e60. ISSN 1438-8871. OCLC 107198227. PMID 16403724. http://www.jmir.org/2005/5/e60. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "WebCite® Consortium FAQ". www.webcitation.org. WebCite. http://www.webcitation.org/faq. 
  6. Cohen, Norm (January 29, 2007). "Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/29/technology/29wikipedia.html. 
  7. Gunther Eysenbach - Twitter update
  8. Wikipedia_talk:Citing_sources/Archive_26#Update
  9. "WebCite Legal and Copyright Information". WebCite Consortium. http://www.webcitation.org/license. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  10. "WebCite Member List". WebCite Consortium. http://www.webcitation.org/members. Retrieved 2009-06-16. "Membership is currently free" 
  11. "WebCite Frequently Asked Questions". WebCite Consortium. http://www.webcitation.org/faq. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  12. "WebCite Frequently Asked Questions - Who owns and runs WebCite at the moment?". WebCite Consortium. http://www.webcitation.org/faq. Retrieved 2009-06-16. "WebCite has been incubated and is still hosted at the University of Toronto / University Health Network's Centre for Global eHealth Innovation." 

External links

fr:WebCite no:WebCite sv:Webcite

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