Wikipedia has long suffered from a broken link problem as old, referenced pages go offline. But luckily, stewards from the Internet Archive have been slowly resurrecting those millions of faulty links, using a software robot to replace 404’d pages with archived versions using the Wayback Machine. Now they’ve announced over 9 million of those links have been rescued.
The broken link cleanup is part of the Internet Archive’s Build a Better Web initiative, which aims to “bring you knowledge in all its many forms that is richer, deeper, more trustworthy and openly accessible on the Web.” Naturally, Wikipedia’s faulty links served as a room where the web could use a little improvement.
So for three years, a software program called the Internet Archive Bot (IABot) has been combing through Wikipedia’s dense network across 22 languages and finding the URLs that return 404s. As the Archive explained in a blog post:
“When broken links are discovered, IABot searches for archives in the Wayback Machine and other web archives to replace them with. Restoring links ensures Wikipedia remains accurate and verifiable and thus meets one of Wikipedia’s three core content policies: ‘Verifiability’.”
It isn’t all attributable to the dutiful bot. Wikipedia community members have been slowly chipping away at the problem too, restoring 3 million links on their own accord, bringing the tally to a cool 9 million.
In an effort to promote its highly useful tools, the Archive points to a study conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation in concert with researchers from Standard and France’s EPFL. When it comes to citations and external link click-throughs on English Wikipedia, users cite the Wayback Machine more than any other site. In total, it averages 25,000 click-throughs a day, which is three times more than the next popular site.
Source: Internet Archive