Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harmless hyperlinking?

It's one of the more basic features of using the Internet, and I've always thought of it as the most convenient way to cite sources or make references because (a) it isn't too much of a visual interruption, unlike a footnote number or parentheses, and (b) it's pretty easy to do.

The HTML code for a link to this blog, for example, would be:

<a href=">Law and ICT</a>

which will be read by a web browser as:

Nowadays, with WYSWIG editors, it's as simple as clicking a button. In the case of Blogger, it's this button:

Despite its convenience and apparent simplicity, hyperlinking has actually been the subject of various controversies relating to copyright laws in the US and in some countries in Europe. Of course, the act of referencing or linking to illegal material or content is an obvious hot button, and that deserves a whole other entry altogether. But I only recently found out that some types of linking that may seem innocent, and perhaps even show diligence, can be linked to copyright infringement. Deep linking and inline linking are some of the more contentious types of hyperlinking, particularly when the links are set up in a manner that would make the reader or site visitor think that the linked web page or the image is part of the original web page or is located on the same server.

Deep linking involves directing the visitor to the page of the website where a particular piece of information is actually published, for example, as opposed to leading the visitor to the website's home page. Inline linking, on the other hand, creates a link for an image by linking to its URL source instead of linking to the web page where the image was published - like doing this:

instead of this:

Until I found out about this, I never used to mind where my links went exactly or how they could appear to readers, as long as I made those links where I thought proper, in terms of citing sources or references. I don't think I ever made anything that's not mine appear as mine, but with all the years I've spent online, I might have made a few "faulty" inline links here and there. I guess it won't hurt to mind them now.


#5 - Somayyah Abdullah
[Previous posts: #1, #2, #3, #4]

1 comment:

Aileen said...

love your posts :) in all the years i spent writing online, i didn't know that linking to the particular page instead of the image url was improper!