Combating link rot: U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations

“Link rot,” when the URL provided via a hyperlink no longer functions, is a troublesome issue for legal scholars and practitioners.  A 2014 study found that half of the links provided in Supreme Court opinions and over 70% of links cited to in the Harvard Law Review “do not produce the information originally cited.”  As Jonathan Zittrain, one author of the study, put it in an April 2014 interview with NPR, this is “extraordinarily bad for the long-term maintenance of the information we need…to understand the law.”

An exciting new tool for combating link rot was recently unveiled by the U.C. Berkeley Law Library: U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations.  This web application captures snapshots of all web citations in new Supreme Court opinions immediately after publication. The snapshots are archived using’s API. U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations users have the ability to browse citations by opinion or by justice and can also subscribe to receive notification of new citations.