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Ephemera for Engineers and Scientists

:: This interesting article by Donald Christiansen, from the Feb 2004 issue of IEEE-USA Today's Engineer, discusses Ephemera for Engineers and Scientists. Excerpt:

The problem manifests itself in other ways. Many technical articles now include references to Internet addresses, as opposed to hard-copy resources. Authors and readers alike complain that many of these URL-identified references seem to vaporize with time. A study led by Robert Dellavalle of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center revealed some startling numbers. Summarized in Science magazine, it reported that in one dramatic instance, 108 of 184 Internet addresses became inactive within four years. In tabulating the combined results from articles that appeared in three major journals Science, JAMA, and NEJM the study team reported that 3.8 percent of Internet references were inactive three months after journal publication, 10 percent after 15 months and 13 percent after 27 months.

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