Permanence of Web Page References

Permanence of Web Page References

FROM JAMA "Since this article does not have an abstract, we have provided the first 150 words of the full text and any section headings".

To the Editor: The Research Letter by Dr Crichlow and colleagues1 addresses an important problem faced by readers of medical literature: elusive Web-based references. In response to this challenge, the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) has recently begun to assign permanence levels to its Web-based documents2 and to make these ratings available to users.

Documents within this system are assigned 1 of the following ratings: permanent-unchanging content, permanent-stable content, permanent-dynamic content, or permanence not guaranteed. In the case of the first 3 (ie, permanence-guaranteed documents), the uniform resource locator (URL) link remains unchanged even if the contents are changed in the future, as may occur with documents having dynamic or stable content.

This may serve as an example for other online sources of medical information. Journals may decide to stipulate that only "permanence-guaranteed" Web pages be cited as references and a brief description of the permanence . .

Vol. 293 No. 12, March 23/30, 2005

Ann's NOTE: When we first set up this website in June 1999 we linked to places that articles we thought would be helpful to people with cancer. Soon these articles disappeared and the web references were 'old news'.

We then started our practice of copying and saving the information so it was accessible long-term. That is since new people get diagnosed with cancer ALL the time, they too would need the information. It was not a point in time but an endless need.

Another rationale was our need to make it much easier for people to find much of what they needed to make more informed treatment/medical decisions, in one place. Of course this 'one place' has grown huge since 1999.

Please excuse the errors we made in the beginning - sometimes we did not save the reference or citation. When you find a page like that, please email and we will attempt to locate the original source.

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