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RDS@UF: Broken Link Repair

Resource Description Services department procedures and policies

Last reviewed June 2022 by Hank Young

Broken Link Repair

As a general rule, it is the responsibility of the Acquisitions Department to repair broken links for purchased electronic resources, or remove them from the catalog display so that they don't confuse and frustrate users. However; some resources which are available freely will have links in the BIB record, either print or electronic which we will need to fix.

Checking links is more an art than a science; here are some general procedures that may help.

  1. Open a session in the cataloging client and one in the Web catalog.
  2. Search for the record that has been reported as having a broken link. Verify that the link is broken.
    1. If the link now works correctly, notify the patron who reported the broken link. There may be a technical access problem that needs to be investigated.  Please use the canned message in the Catalog Problems Mailbox guide.
    2.  If the item is for a free resource, replace the link with a working link.
    3. If the item is for a US Federal Document, report the problem to Jody Hewitt in the Government Documents Cataloging Unit.
    4. If the item has a vendor record, report the problem to the ER Help Unit.
  3. If there is an obvious problem (a space inserted in the middle of the link, the http:// part is malformed, etc.), correct it and try again. 
  4. If the link is for a database, go to Find Databases or do a Web search to see whether you can locate a better link than the one currently in use.
  5. If the link is still broken, try "backing up" the URL to find the item. Do this by starting at the "root" of the URL. (The root of the URL is the portion up to and including the first forward slash; the root of this page's URL is
  6. On that higher level page, look for a link to the title, or a more general link, such as "Publications." 
  7. If you find a general link, click on that and look for a specific link to the title. For electronic journals, stop at the most specific level that leads to all the issues of a journal.
  8. To add a repaired or new link, copy that link from the address window of your browser, and paste it into Aleph. If you had to use a link for a general page, add any directions you think people will need to find the specific resource in a |z. For example:  856/1:0 : |z UF students, staff, and faculty may download full-text for free; |z Search using author's name upon connection |u 
  9. Switch to the Web catalog session. Search the title, and try the link. Make sure the link works correctly, and that it leads to the page you intended.

In some cases, you will not find a working link. In that case, follow the instructions for withdrawing electronic resources.

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