Link Rot at the Supreme Court

Kendra Albert

Kendra Albert


There's something rotten at the U.S. Supreme Court.


Specifically, it's the hyperlinks.

According to new research by Jonathan Zittrain, Kendra Albert, and Lawrence Lessig, "50% of the URLs found within U.S. Supreme Court opinions do not link to the originally cited information."

It seems we're facing the same issue here in Canada. Several Supreme Court of Canada decisions posted online include hyperlinks that no longer work.

For example, Breeden v. Black links to a PDF document that now results in an error page. R. v. National Post links to a 2004 document from the Canadian Association of Journalists that no longer appears online at the stated address. Trying to access a PDF linked from R. v. Cunningham also results in an error.

To find out more about link rot and why's it's particularly problematic in the legal world, Nora interviewed Kendra Albert. They also talked about a proposed solution from the Harvard Library Innovation Lab called

media clip

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.