persistent URLs … pleeeease

I was just clicking through a link from my own 2000 publication list to an ACM paper1, and the link is broken!  So what is new, the web is full of broken links … but I hate to find one on my own site.  The URL appears to be one that is semantic (not one of those CMS “?nodeid=3179” web pages):

At the time I used the link it was valid;  however, the ACM have clearly changed their structure, as this kind of material is all now in the ACM digital library, but they did not leave permanent redirects in place.  This would be forgiveable if the URL were for a transient news item, but TOCHI is intended to be an archival publication … and yet the URL is not regarded as persistent!  If ACM, probably the largest professional computing organisation in the world, cannot get this right, what hope for any of us.

I will fix the link, and now-a-days tend to use ACM’s DOI link as this is likely to be more persistent, however I can do this only because it is my own site.

So, if you are updating a site structure yourself ..  please, Please, PLeeeeEASE make sure you keep all those old links alive2!

  1. BTW the paper is:

    Dix, A., Rodden, T., Davies, N., Trevor, J., Friday, A., and Palfreyman, K. 2000. Exploiting space and location as a design framework for interactive mobile systems. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 7, 3 (Sep. 2000), 285-321. DOI=

    and it is all about physical and virtual location … hmmm[back]

  2. For the ACM or other large sites this would be done using some data-driven approach, but if you are simply restructring your own site and you are using an Apache web server, just add a .htaccess file to your web and add Redirect directives in it mapping old URls to new ones. For example, for the paper on the ACM site:

    Redirect /pubs/citations/journals/tochi/2000-7-3/p285-dix/