In this paper, the authors present the results of a study into the persistence and availability of web resources referenced from papers in scholarly repositories. Two repositories with different characteristics, arXiv and the UNT digital library, are studied to determine if the nature of the repository, or of its content. Memento makes it possible to automate discovery of archived resources and to consider the time between the publication of the research and the archiving of the reference URLs. This automation allows us to process more than 160000 URLs, the largest known such study, and the repository metadata allows consideration of the results by discipline. The results are startling: 45% (66096) of the URLs referenced from arXiv still exist, but are not preserved for future generations, and 28% of resources referenced by UNT papers have been lost. Moving forwards, we provide some initial recommendations, including that repositories should publish URL lists extracted from papers that could be used as seeds for web archiving systems.
Source: University of North Texas Digital Library