Quoting web resources is a hassle for several reasons:
Humanities, where detailed content analysis of websites is a popular research method. Referring to exact quotes is a question of reproducibility and therefore crucial in science generally. This article presents some strategies and tools to bypass the challenges mentioned above.
With WebCite, there used to be a web service to circumvent link rot and changed the content. WebCite allowed to archive online resources and returned an URL where these filed pages could be accessed. Besides that this service was often down and therefore notoriously unreliable, as of July 14, 2019, it does not accept any new archive requests anymore.
Luckily with Wayback Machine1, operated by the Internet Archive, there is recently a new and reliable web service available. Although there is a sophisticated how-to use of this service in the Wikipedia context, I have prepared my own How-to use Wayback Machine for the general public.
Visit my tutorial on How-to use Wayback Machine for the general public.
Internet Archive asked the Modern Language Association (MLA) how to cite resources archived with the Wayback Machine. MLA Style is a prevalent system for documenting sources in scholarly writing.
that there is no established format for resources like the Wayback Machine, but it’s best to err on the side of more information. You should cite the webpage as you would normally, and then give the Wayback Machine information.
MLA also provided an example:
McDonald, R. C. “Basic Canary Care.” Robirda Online. 12 Sept. 2004. 18 Dec. 2006 [http://www.robirda.com/cancare.html]. Internet Archive. [ http://web.archive.org/web/20041009202820/http://www.robirda.com/cancare.html].
Note there are several additions to a standard bibliography:
According to MLA, both URLs shouldn’t be underlined in the bibliography.
Let’s try another example. The archiving service Peeep.Us is not available anymore. The Wayback Machine gives us as archived URL https://web.archive.org/web/20180813205348/http://peeep.us:80/. If we are are going to compose this bibliography in the usual way, we would get:
Nikolaev, Cyril. “Peeep.Us.” Save Snapshot of a Web Page Forever!, 13 Aug. 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20180813205348/http://peeep.us:80/.
Using a name for web sites may questionable, but I use it whenever there is a reasonable possibility (e.g., from the Copyright or from the name of the institution, which produces the web site).
Now we have to add the retrieval date, the original URL and the name of the archiving service:
Nikolaev, Cyril. “Peeep.Us.” Save Snapshot of a Web Page Forever!, 13 Aug. 2018, 22 Jul. 2019 [http://peeep.us]. Internet Archive. [https://web.archive.org/web/20180813205348/http://peeep.us:80/].
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