Q: Why are there so many dead links in Patriots?
A: One advantage of an e-book over a dead-tree-book is the ability to hyperlink, and ‘Patriots’ has an abundance of these. To be clear, when the book is released there will be NO dead links, but over time they are inevitable. Dead links can’t be prevented (one can’t control what happens on the sites one links to), but here’s what was done to buffer them:
1) I linked to ‘stable’ sites, like Wikipedia, whenever possible. Wiki’s intent is to be a persistent base of knowledge - in other words, they plan to be around for awhile. They may fail, of course, but at this time they’re as good a bet to be around in 10 years as anything on the ‘net.
2) Many links were buffered with internal definitions. That is, before a Patriots link sends you out to the web, it offers you an explanation of what was on the linked site when the book was written. If the site’s vanished, at least you have an idea what was on it. In a few cases multiple outbound links are offered in the definition, so that if one goes dead, another may survive.
3) Some links are pretty well explained within the text, or concern relatively trivial issues. In such cases, I felt building in redundancies (such as those described above) were more trouble (for you, the reader) than they were worth. Links are already a distraction from the story as it is - no point muddying the waters even further.
4) Some links are easy enough to look up again. For example, I linked to a Charlie Rose interview with Steve Martin in the FAQ answer to ‘Where do you get your ideas?’. That link went to a fairly stable site (YouTube), but if it gets moved, it’s pretty straightforward to do a web-wide search for the clip as it’s described.