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Power Researcher Challenge

Welcome to Day 5 of the Power Researcher Challenge!

Have you ever cited a web source only to have it no longer render when you or a reader tries to access it at a later time (the dreaded 404 error!)? Have you heard of 'link rot'? It's when websites change, go away, or get taken down, and the original links lead to broken, blank, altered, or even malicious pages. Yikes! 

Never fear! You can use to create a permanent, archived version of a website. will assign a permanent URL to the archived version of the site, making that source accessible to your readers even if the web page goes away. It's a free service created by Harvard Libraries with the goal of long term preservation of web content cited in scholarly sources. 

Landing page of the website

Let's get started!

1. Create a free account - this will allow you to test drive the software and save 10 links total.

Or, take the BONUS Challenge (even better!): Email to get set up with unlimited Perma Links in It's quick and easy!

Note: Jen will give you your own account that includes two sections: Personal Links and Organization Links. With Personal Links (individual links you save at your discretion), you get up to 10 links per month. With Organization Links, you get unlimited personal links, plus you can share access to your links (at your discretion)!

2. Once logged into your account, enter the URL of a page you want to preserve. Don't have a page in mind? Try this one from an organization, or this one from The New York Times Magazine

What does a link look like in action? See this example of a record from the White House home page in 2015.

3. Click the "Create Perma Link" button.

Note: works on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE10+.

Note: You can delete Perma Links within 24 hours after you create them - feel free to practice with one or two links and then delete them so that they don't take up your initial 10 free links.

Pro Tips for Using

When is it best to use
When the source you are citing doesn't already have a permanent link. For example, scholarly sources with DOIs are permanent links. However, governmental or organizational web pages, news articles, blog posts, working papers, and other ephemeral web pages are good candidates for archiving in


How do you cite a Perma Link?
Citations to Perma Links may vary, depending on the citation style you use, but a popular approach is to include the original link, followed by "archived at" and the Perma Link. See, for example, the following endnote in Outbreak: Foodborne Illness and the Struggle for Food Safety:

example citation using a link


Here's another example of several chapter references, from Global Brand Management: A Guide to Developing, Building & Managing an International Brand​:

Example citations using links

How do you organize Perma Links?
Once you're set up for unlimited links, consider creating folders of links that are meaningful to you. That way, when you come back to your account at a later time, you'll have a better sense of where things are that you need. For example, you might label links by:

  • a specific manuscript submission
  • a course or activity name (if using Perma Links in instruction)
  • a specific grant submission
  • a specific project (thesis, dissertation, etc.)

Did you know?

  • You can add a extension to Chrome or Firefox, in order to archive links as you come across them on the web. Find the browser extension in your account under Settings > Tools. Microsoft Edge users can install a bookmarklet.
  • There are many online archiving options - see Wikipedia's comparison chart. However, has added value when compared to tools like the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine in that it provides a more thorough, accurate capture of links in two forms, a web archive file (WARC), and a screenshot (PNG). also provides persistent shortlinks that are cleaner looking and more convenient for citing sources, and it offers researchers the ability to manage their links with folders, annotation, and public/private control. 
  • has a helpful FAQ page,

Further reading

The following resources help describe the importance of permanent URLs to scholarly citations.

  • Kille, Leighton Walter. (2015, October). "The Growing Problem of Internet "Link Rot" and Best Practices for Media and Online Publishers." Journalist's Resource. Harvard Kennedy School. Archived at
  • Zeng, T., Shema, A., & Acuna, D. E. (2019, March). Dead Science: Most Resources Linked in Biomedical Articles Disappear in Eight Years. In International Conference on Information (pp. 170-176). Springer, Cham. [access the full text using the URSUS bookmarklet you installed on Day 2!]
  • Zittrain, Jonathan, Kendra Albert and Lawrence Lessig. (2014). "Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations." Harvard Law Review Forum, 127: 176 - 199. Archived at


You've completed the Power Researcher Challenge! It's been a delight to spend this week with you. We hope you found these activities useful and thought provoking for your work at the university and beyond. Keep in touch!

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