Re: The archival status of archived papers

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2002 10:34:07 -0500


On Tuesday, November 26, 2002, at 08:27 PM, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> Now it is conceivable that the eprints architecture can be slightly
> modified, so that the old, suppressed URL for the deleted paper
> automatically redirects to the new draft if someone tries to access
> the old one. That I have to let Chris reply about. Here I have merely
> explained the rationale for not having designed the archive so a paper
> could be deposited, and then modified willy-nilly under the same URL.
> For that would not have been an archive at all, and user complaints,
> about trying to use and cite a moving target, would have far
> out-numbered
> depositor complaints about what to do with after-thoughts and
> successive
> drafts.

Well, that is one way to look at it. On the other hand, uses
version numbers and the persistent name/id and URL (say hep-th/0210311
and always points to the latest
with links to the earlier versions.

I believe you are advocating a poor design choice here. One cannot
the importance of human-friendly persistent names that are easily
to URL's for linking and quick location. Patching the system to
redirect to the
latest linked version is a hack. Is one actually able to download
the earlier version (which is what was cited)? Generally, a better
is to give a good persistent name to a "work" and not a single
of that work (whether it be a particular format or a particular
version) and
then give a reader a single point of entry into the system that can be
or cited reliably which gives a choice of what to download. Cutting off
to an earlier, citeable version is a mistake. Archives should not
delete items
or make them hard to access - rather they should show items in context
and give easy access to an item's history and versioning with a single
identifier for the work taken as a whole.


Mark Doyle
Manager, Product Development
The American Physical Society
Received on Mon Dec 02 2002 - 15:34:07 GMT

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