WebCite is an on-demand web archiving service that takes snapshots of Internet-accessible digital objects at the behest of users, storing the data on their own servers and assigning unique identifiers to those instances of the material. Its goal is to allow both scholars and academic publishers to have confidence that any web-based materials cited in their publications will remain available for future readers.
The WebCite Consortium, hosted at the University of Toronto / University Health Network's Centre for Global eHealth Innovation.
Licensing and cost
The service is freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. WebCite asks that scholarly publishers wishing to automatically archive and identify new articles become members of the WebCite Consortium. Membership is currently a voluntary donation, based on publishing revenue and the number of webcitations assigned per year.
The service is available as of January 2012. The project website does not advertise current development activity, although the service itself is still running. Most of the information on the website is out of date, publicising developments to be released in 2008, but which are not available on the site.
Platform and interoperability
WebCite is a web-based application, which renders it platform agnostic.
WebCite stores a copy of the target material’s html, including any other associated files regardless of format. The crawl respects robot exclusion policies and firewalls. Users may initiate a web cache of materials they produce themselves before publishing. Authors may also submit XML files of already published articles, and WebCite will crawl the references and attempt to retrospectively archive cited webpages.
Documentation and user support
Documentation consists of a Technical Background and Best Practices Guide. The site gives a contact email for the developer.
The archiving request interface is extremely straightforward. Individuals can also use a personalised bookmarklet to automatically request that materials be archived.
Basic knowledge of citation standards.
WebCite, if requested, will incorporate an object’s DOI into the webcitation; however, the service itself does not assign DOIs.
Influence and take-up
Nearly 200 journals belong to the consortium; no information is available on individual use.