Disappearing references: The longevity of news articles

Here is a life parable. I was meticulously converting a literature review paper I wrote a few months back for a journal publication from APA to IEEE referencing, when I soon realised that the first few articles that I have cited can now no longer be found. It dawned upon me that my work has somewhat hit an unexpected impasse.


Being a literature review piece on a concept that hinged upon public conjectures and moral panic (i.e. the digital natives lark!), grey literature consisting of among others newspaper articles was an integral counter-argument to academic papers. The articles both positioned my arguments contextually and conceptually, where the fundamental foundation is the media induced moral panic. Now that these sources have gone, I am unable to contextualise the discourse any longer. The argument still stands, but the individuals that will be involved in the peer review process may see the absence of these cited articles as poor form.

Arguably it is just one paper, but this was one of my favourite pieces that I have dedicated 2 months of reading, eliminating and systematically reviewing – through the SALSA method (Search, Analyse, Synthesis, Appraise) – more than 1,100 written articles on digital natives. Such is life, we move on back to the editing process.