WebCite is an on-demand archiving service, designed to digitally
preserve scientific and educationally important material on the web by
making snapshots of Internet contents as they existed at the time when
a blogger, or a scholar or a editor cited or quoted from it.
The preservation service enables verifiability of claims supported by
the cited sources even when the original web pages are being revised,
removed, or disappear for other reasons, an effect known as link
1 Comparison to other services
5 Business model
6 Copyright issues
7 See also
9 External links
Comparison to other services
The service differs from the short time
Google Cache copies by having
indefinite archiving and by offering on-the-fly archiving. The
Internet Archive, since 2013, also offers immediate archiving,
WebCite has some advantages:
pages cached by
WebCite also capture several layers of underlying
Internet Archive only captures the top page chosen for
the accuracy with which formatting and functionality is preserved also
varies greatly between
Internet Archive and WebCite
WebCite checks robots.txt only at the time of archiving, Internet
Archive checks robots.txt occasionally, so changes in robots.txt
(which can be caused by a change in the ownership of the domain name)
can result in removing the cached pages from the Internet Archive
WebCite is a non-profit consortium supported by publishers and
editors, and it can be used by individuals without charge. Rather than
relying on a web crawler which archives pages in a "random" fashion,
authors who want to cite web pages in a scholarly article can initiate
the archiving process. They then cite – instead of or in addition to
URL – the snapshot address archived by WebCite, with an
identifier that specifies the cited source. (However, note that the
Internet Archive does both a crawler-based archiving and on-demand
WebCite can be used to preserve cited Internet content, such as the
archived web pages, in addition to citing the original
URL of the
Internet content. All types of web content, including
HTML web pages,
PDF files, style sheets,
preserved. It also archives metadata about the collected resources
such as access time, MIME type, and content length.
Conceived in 1997 by Gunther Eysenbach,
WebCite was publicly described
the following year when an article on Internet quality control
declared that such a service could also measure the citation impact of
web pages. In the next year, a pilot service was set up at the
address webcite.net. Although it seemed that the need for WebCite
decreased when Google's short term copies of web pages began to be
Google Cache and the
Internet Archive expanded their
crawling (which started in 1996),
WebCite was the only one allowing
"on-demand" archiving by users.
WebCite also offered interfaces to
scholarly journals and publishers to automate the archiving of cited
links. By 2008, over 200 journals had begun routinely using
WebCite used to be, but is no longer, a member of the International
Internet Preservation Consortium. In a 2012 message on Twitter,
Eysenbach commented that "
WebCite has no funding, and IIPC charges
€4000 per year in annual membership fees."
WebCite "feeds its content" to other digital preservation projects,
including the Internet Archive. Lawrence Lessig, an American
academic who writes extensively on copyright and technology, used
WebCite in his amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States
case of MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.
WebCite ran a fund-raising campaign using
FundRazr from January 2013
with a target of $22,500, a sum which its operators stated was needed
to maintain and modernize the service beyond the end of 2013. This
includes relocating the service to
Amazon EC2 cloud hosting and legal
support. As of 2013[update] it remained undecided whether WebCite
would continue as a non-profit or as a for-profit entity.
WebCite allows on-demand prospective archiving. It is not
crawler-based; pages are only archived if the citing author or
publisher requests it. No cached copy will appear in a
unless the author or another person has specifically cached it
To initiate the caching and archiving of a page, an author may use
WebCite's "archive" menu option or create a
WebCite bookmarklet that
will allow web surfers to cache pages just by clicking a button in
their bookmarks folder.
One can retrieve or cite archived pages through a transparent format
URL is the
URL that was archived, and DATE indicates the caching
date. For example,
or the alternate short form http://webcitation.org/5W56XTY5h retrieves
an archived copy of the
that is closest to the date of March 4, 2008. The ID (5W56XTY5h) is
UNIX time in base 62.
It is important to note that
WebCite does not work for pages which
contain a no-cache tag.
WebCite respects the author's request to not
have their web page cached.
One can archive a page by simply navigating in their browser to a link
formatted like this:
replacing urltoarchive with the full
URL of the page to be archived,
and youremail with their e-mail address. This is how the WebCite
The term "WebCite" is a registered trademark.
WebCite does not
charge individual users, journal editors and publishers any fee to
use their service.
WebCite earns revenue from publishers who want to
"have their publications analyzed and cited webreferences
archived", and accepts donations. Early support was from the
University of Toronto.
According to their policy, after receiving legitimate
from the copyright holders,
WebCite removes saved pages from public
access, as the archived pages are still under the safe harbor of being
citations. The pages are removed to a "dark archive" and in cases of
legal controversies or evidence requests there is pay-per-view access
of "$200 (up to 5 snapshots) plus $100 for each further 10 snapshots"
to the copyrighted content.
WebCite maintains the legal position that its archiving activities
are allowed by the copyright doctrines of fair use and implied
license. To support the fair use argument,
WebCite notes that its
archived copies are transformative, socially valuable for academic
research, and not harmful to the market value of any copyrighted
WebCite argues that caching and archiving web pages is not
considered a copyright infringement when the archiver offers the
copyright owner an opportunity to "opt-out" of the archive system,
thus creating an implied license. To that end,
WebCite will not
archive in violation of Web site "do-not-cache" and "no-archive"
metadata, as well as robot exclusion standards, the absence of which
creates an "implied license" for web archive services to preserve the
In a similar case involving Google's web caching activities, on
January 19, 2006, the United States District Court for the District of
Nevada agreed with that argument in the case of Field v. Google
(CV-S-04-0413-RCJ-LRL), holding that fair use and an "implied license"
meant that Google's caching of Web pages did not constitute copyright
violation. The "implied license" referred to general Internet
^ a b c d e f g h i j k "
Consortium FAQ". WebCitation.org.
^ "Webcitation.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved November
2017. Check date values in: access-date= (help)
^ Habibzadeh, P.; Sciences, Schattauer GmbH - Publishers for Medicine
and Natural (2013-01-01). "Decay of References to Web sites in
Articles Published in General Medical Journals: Mainstream vs Small
Journals". Applied Clinical Informatics. 4 (4).
^ a b Fixing Broken Links on the Internet,
Internet Archive blog,
October 25, 2013.
^ Eysenbach, Gunther; Diepgen, Thomas L. (November 28, 1998). "Towards
quality management of medical information on the internet: evaluation,
labelling, and filtering of information". The BMJ. London: BMJ. 317
(7171): 1496–1502. doi:10.1136/bmj.317.7171.1496.
ISSN 0959-8146. OCLC 206118688. PMC 1114339 .
PMID 9831581. BL Shelfmark 2330.000000. Retrieved
^ a b Eysenbach, Gunther; Trudel, Mathieu (2005). "Going, Going, Still
There: Using the
WebCite Service to Permanently Archive Cited Web
Pages". Journal of Medical Internet Research. Toronto: Centre for
Global eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network. 7 (5):
e60. doi:10.2196/jmir.7.5.e60. ISSN 1438-8871.
OCLC 107198227. PMC 1550686 . PMID 16403724.
^ "Twitter post". June 11, 2012. Archived from the original on March
10, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
^ Cohen, Norm (January 29, 2007). "Courts Turn to, but
Selectively". The New York Times.
^ "Fund WebCite". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
^ "Conversation between
GiveWell and Webcite on 4/10/13" (PDF).
GiveWell. Retrieved 2009-10-18. Dr. Eysenbach is trying to decide
whether Webcite should continue as a non-profit project or a business
with revenue streams built into the system.
^ Compare: Habibzadeh, Parham (2015-07-30). "Are current archiving
systems reliable enough?". International Urogynecology Journal: 1–1.
doi:10.1007/s00192-015-2805-7. ISSN 0937-3462. Retrieved
2016-03-23. Besides Perma, there are many other preserving systems.
WebCite is another one[...].
WebCite Bookmarklet". WebCitation.org. WebCite. Retrieved
WebCite Legal and Copyright Information". WebCitation.org. WebCite.
WebCite Member List". WebCitation.org.
Retrieved 2009-06-16. Membership is currently free
WebCite takedown requests policy". WebCitation.org. WebCite.