The internet is stitched together by an incalculable number of hyperlinks, but much like cells in an organism, the sources and destinations have a finite lifespan. Essentially, links can and do die.
Most “link rot” is the result of website restructuring, or entities going out of business and pulling their website offline.
This idea of a public record is at the heart of why digital decay is an issue worth addressing. What record will remain of people’s thoughts and feelings in that era?
Supreme Court decisions and academia lean heavily on citations to build their arguments. What happens when those citations simply vanish? Also Wikipedia, has serious issues caused by digital decay.
Thankfully we’re finally taking steps to combat digital decay. The most well-known solution is Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which has archived hundreds of billions webpages over the past 20 years.
I have known about the link dacay for a long time when tried to keep the huge link list in aPanorama.net up to date. Over years I have had to scale down the maintenance on them – too much work to try to keep everything up to date all the time (need for some automation?)