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Availability and persistence of web citations in Indian LIS literature

B.T. Sampath Kumar (Department of Library and Information Science, Kuvempu University, Shimoga, India)
K.R. Prithvi Raj (Department of Library and Information Science, Kuvempu University, Shimoga, India)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 10 February 2012



The worldwide web is growing at an enormous speed and web citations are becoming very common in scholarly publications. However the major problem of web citation is its persistence since citations disappear over time, causing accessibility problems for readers. In this context the present study aims to investigate the availability of web citations and their persistence in Indian Library and Information Science literature. The study also aims to investigate types of link accessibility errors encountered, domains associated with missing web citations and the correlation between the path depth and missing web citations.


The web citations (URLs) from 350 articles published in Indian Association of Teachers in Library and Information Science (IATLIS) conference volume (2001‐2008) were extracted and then tested to determine the accessibility. The W3C Link Checker ( was used to evaluate links associated with a cited web resource. This link checker tests a submitted web page for broken or non‐valid hypertext links and reports the types of HTTP messages encountered.


Results of the study show that the average citations per article have been increased substantially from 0.25 (in the year 2001) to 3.02 (in the year 2008). It also found that 45.61 per cent of citations are not accessible during the time of testing, and the majority of web citations show HTTP Error Code 404 (63.84 per cent). Web citations from the .org domain are found to have the highest failure rates (30.29 per cent) compared to .edu (21.49 per cent) and .com/.co (14.33 per cent) domains.


The researchers analysed 673 web citations from 350 articles published during 2001 to 2008 in IATLIS conference volumes. The study investigated the percentage of missing web citations and domains associated with missing web citations. The study suggests some possible solutions to improve web citation accessibility. This carries research value for web content providers, web authors and researchers in library and information science.



Sampath Kumar, B.T. and Prithvi Raj, K.R. (2012), "Availability and persistence of web citations in Indian LIS literature", The Electronic Library, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 19-32.



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