Wikipedia:Using WebCite

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This page gives information about using WebCite, an on-demand web archiving service, at http://www.webcitation.org/. By using WebCite, Wikipedia editors can reduce link rot by preserving a copy of an online source that can be accessed if the original page is moved, changes, or disappears. Not all web pages can be archived, however.[nb 1]

WebCite can archive a range of content, including HTML web pages, PDF files, style sheets, JavaScript, and digital images. Another web archiving service is the Wayback Machine. The two operate differently, and certain pages can be archived by one but not the other. The Wayback Machine takes snapshots of webpages at certain times as well as having an archiving process initiated by user requests; WebCite requires someone to actively archive a link.

How to archive[edit]

There are many ways to submit a web page to WebCite for archiving. If you are new to using WebCite, give the Website form method a go first. The other methods are better suited to those who use WebCite regularly.

Website form[edit]

This method is easy to use but is slower than the other methods as it requires going to the WebCite website each time you want to archive a web page.

  1. Go to http://www.webcitation.org/archive.
  2. Enter the URL of the web page you wish to archive into the "URL to Archive [url]" field.
  3. Enter an email address into the "Your (citing author) E-mail Address [email]" field.
  4. After entering the URL of the page you wish to archive and an email address into the form, click the "Submit" button. You will be sent to a page containing a link to the archive URL of the web page you wished to archive.
  5. An email stating whether the archive process succeeded or failed will be sent to your email address. If it was successful, the archive URL will also be included in the email.
  6. It is recommended that you view the archived page to check if the archive process has been successful.

Bookmarklet[edit]

Put simply, a bookmarklet is a web browser bookmark which instead of going to a web page, performs a certain function. With the WebCite bookmarklet, you click the bookmark, it takes the URL of the page you are currently looking at and submits it to WebCite for archiving. This method is easy to set up, easy to use and is fast. To get the most out of this method, it is recommended that you have your Bookmarks/Favorites bar visible or at least have your bookmarks accessible within a click or two. This method only allows you to archive the page you are currently looking at, to archive a different web page you will have to use another method.

  1. To set up the bookmarklet, go to http://www.webcitation.org/bookmarklet.
  2. Enter an email address. An email stating whether the archive process succeeded or failed will be sent to this address. If it was successful, the archive URL will also be included in the email.
  3. Click the "Build my Bookmarklet" button. Some text will appear.
  4. At the end of point 1, there is a "WebCite® this page" link. This is your personal bookmarklet. Drag this link into your Bookmarks/Favorites bar.
  5. To use the bookmarklet, simply click on it when you are on a web page you wish to archive. You will be sent to a page containing a link to the archive URL of the web page you wished to archive.
  6. It is recommended that you view the archived page to check if the archive process has been successful.

Firefox smart keyword[edit]

Firefox smart keywords are commonly used to perform searches through the Firefox address bar or to open a bookmark by typing a keyword into the Firefox address bar. Here we are going to use a smart keyword to submit a URL to WebCite for archiving. This method is moderately simple to set up, easy to use and is fast.

  1. To set up the smart keyword, hit Ctrl+Shift+B to open up your Bookmarks Library (or by clicking the orange Firefox button on the top left of the window, then going to "Bookmarks", then "Show All Bookmarks")
  2. Browse to a location you would like to save the smart keyword bookmark in.
  3. In the menu at the top of the window, click "Organize", then "New Bookmark".
  4. Enter a name for the bookmark (e.g. WebCite).
  5. Enter http://www.webcitation.org/archive?url=%s&email=yourname@example.com into the Location field, replacing yourname@example.com with your email address. An email stating whether the archive process succeeded or failed will be sent to this address. If it was successful, the archive URL will also be included in the email.
  6. Enter a keyword for the bookmark. You should choose something short and this keyword must not already be used for another bookmark. (e.g. wc)
  7. Click the "Add" button. Close the Bookmarks Library.
  8. To use the smart keyword, add the keyword you chose ("wc" in the above example) followed by a space (" ") in front of the URL of the web page you would like to archive in the Firefox address bar. (e.g. If you are using "wc" as your keyword, the text in the address bar would be wc http://www.example.com/pageyouwantoarchive.html).
  9. Hit Enter. You will be sent to a page containing a link to the archive URL of the web page you wished to archive.
  10. It is recommended that you view the archived page to check if the archive process has been successful.

Chrome search engine[edit]

Although this is created through Chrome's search engine feature, this functions just like a smart keyword in Firefox. This method is moderately simple to set up, easy to use and is fast.

  1. To set up the "search engine", right click the address bar and select "Edit search engines...". At the bottom of the list that comes up, you can add a "search engine".
  2. Enter a name for the "search engine" in the first field (e.g. WebCite).
  3. Enter a keyword for the "search engine" in the second field. You should choose something short and this keyword must not already be used. (e.g. wc)
  4. Enter http://www.webcitation.org/archive?url=%s&email=yourname@example.com into the third field, replacing yourname@example.com with your email address. An email stating whether the archive process succeeded or failed will be sent to this address. If it was successful, the archive URL will also be included in the email.
  5. Hit Enter to save the "search engine".
  6. To use the "search engine", add the keyword you chose ("wc" in the above example) followed by a space (" ") in front of the URL of the web page you would like to archive in the Chrome address bar (e.g. If you are using "wc" as your keyword, the text in the address bar would be wc http://www.example.com/pageyouwantoarchive.html).
  7. Hit Enter. You will be sent to a page containing a link to the archive URL of the web page you wished to archive.
  8. It is recommended that you view the archived page to check if the archive process has been successful.

Limitations[edit]

WebCite honors the robots exclusion standard, as well as no-cache and no-archive tags and will not archive sites that disallow archiving.

For example, The New York Times has a robots.txt file at http://www.nytimes.com/robots.txt which includes:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /aponline/
Disallow: /archives/
Disallow: /reuters/

Thus, archive requests for URLs within those folders, and any other similarly listed folder of the New York Times website will be rejected.

Use within Wikipedia[edit]

Links archived with WebCite may appear in two formats. The first format uses a 9-digit hexadecimal "Snapshot ID," similar to URL shortening services, to provide a more convenient link: http://www.webcitation.org/XXXXXXXXX The second format displays the original URL and the date of archiving within the URL itself: http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.example.com&date=2009-11-04. Either is appropriate for use within Wikipedia.

This archive URL can be inserted into the archiveurl= and its supporting archivedate= and deadurl= parameters in any of the citation templates. If the original URL is no longer accessible, the deadurl parameter value should be set to yes. If the original URL is still accessible, the deadurl parameter value should be set to no.

<ref>{{cite web |last= |first= |title= |work= |publisher= |date= |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |deadurl= }}</ref>

Searching for previously archived web pages[edit]

Web pages previously archived through WebCite are accessible through a searchable database. Users may search by URL, date, or by "Snapshot ID".

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ WebCite FAQ: A page may not be archived for a number of reasons. The page owner may specifically prohibit archiving of their content through no-cache / no-archive tags, or via a robot exclusion policy on their site. The content may be inaccessible from the WebCite® network (this is particularly likely if you are attempting to access subscription based content which your institution subscribes to on its users' behalf). Also, the content may be unreadable by the WebCite® archiver (complex JavaScript based pages, or ones involving browser checks sometimes cause our archive engine to fail).