dangling reference

dangling reference

A link or pointer to something (instruction, table element, index item, etc.) that no longer contains the same content. If the reference is not a currently valid address, or if it is a valid address but there is no content in that location, it may cause the computer to crash. If the content has changed, it can also cause the system to crash, or, at the very least, produce erroneous output.
References in periodicals archive ?
A few small oversights in the English edition a missing word here, a dangling reference there are only remarkable because the publication is otherwise so polished.
For example, when people dial a telephone number and get a "no such number" message (the equivalent of a dangling reference), they do not throw up their hands in despair.
Dangling references fall under the broader topic of referential integrity.