Style guide for online hypertext
When referring to information which is on a server outside your own
control, you might be tempted to make a local copy of it. In some cases,
this can be a good thing, but there are also good arguments against it.
Reasons for leaving the document where it is:
- When the document is updated by its owner, the link automatically refers to the
updated information, so there no longer is a need to keep checking the
remote site for any changes to the document.
- The other server may be on a faster connection than yours, depending on
where your readers will be coming from.
- Copying a document to your server requires permission from the
copyright owner. Referring to it doesn't.
Reasons for making a local copy:
- If the information is only temporarily available (a news article, for
example), then you have to make a copy. But make sure you do not
violate the copyright of the author if you want to make the copy
- If you want to refer to a particular piece of information, which might
be changed, then a copy ensures you will keep that version.
- Several documents might each contain information on one aspect of a
problem. To combine them, links to the separate documents can be confusing
to your readers. Extracting the relevant information and merging it into
one document is a better choice.
Hotlists and indices
There already are many collections of "cool" links, indices to RFCs, FAQ
lists or information on specific topics. Rather than creating the 1,000th
list of links, make a personalized, annotated, list of pointers of
The best WWW pages are those that have something meaningful to say for themselves.
Last updated: 30 Sep 1997
Copyright © 1996 - 2006. Arnoud Engelfriet.