Checking for Broken Links in Catalog Records in Inmagic Genie

by Jonathan Jacobsen Saturday, September 20, 2014 7:35 PM

Inmagic DB/TextWorks has had a very useful feature to check all the URLs in records for many years (since version 8). This handy tool (under the Tools menu) will crawl all the URLs in a field you designate, and write the results into another field (e.g. URLStatus) in your database, for review and correction of the URLs.

For libraries using the Inmagic Genie integrated library system, such a feature doesn’t yet exist. As more and more libraries catalogue more and more electronic resources, the need to periodically check URLs and correct invalid ones becomes ever more important.

Fortunately, there’s a fairly easy way to do this in Genie. Here’s how:

1. Install a link checker plug-in into your web browser. There are many available; just search the web for "URL checker" or "link checker" and the name of your browser. This tool will crawl all the links on a web page and inform you which ones are in good working order and which are problematic.

2. Search the CatURL field in your Genie Catalog for all records with a URL (hint: use an asterisk in this field to find all). 

If the URL field isn’t available on any of your Catalog search screens, it's easily added by editing  the MyQueries.config file.

3. Check that the URLs are appearing on the Genie Catalog brief results page. If that field isn’t on the brief display, you'll either need to add it or create a new report (see below for ideas about that).

4. Activate the link checker and wait while it crawls all the links on your URL Check report. Depending on the plug-in you installed, it may highlight results in different ways.  The screenshot below shows an example of a link checker that has checked 16 Genie Catalog search results. Links are colour-coded green and red to indicate status.

Note that the link checker has crawled and checked EVERY link on the page, including ones within Genie (e.g. the Edit and Full Display links, the navigation menu, etc.). The count of links checked will be much more than just the maximum 20 records per page with URLs.

5. For any broken links, click the Edit link to edit the Catalog record. Manually verify the link – it may not be broken per se, but simply redirecting the user to a different page. If appropriate, either edit or remove the URL from the Catalog record's URL field.

6. Click the Search Results link in the breadcrumb trail at the top of the Catalog edit screen to return to where you left off. Click the Next 20 Records link to advance to the next set of records with URLs and run the link checker again.

The above procedure has some pros and cons:

Pros

No need for any new reports in Genie (other than ensuring you can search for and view URLs in Catalog results).

Only have to work with 20 records at a time.

Can quickly access the Catalog Edit screen to correct URLs.

Cons

Link checker crawls more than just URLs in Catalog records, taking longer.

Can only work with 20 records at a time. Many manual steps required to work through hundreds or thousands of Catalog records with URLs.

To work with more than 20 records a time, but still have quick access to the Edit button, create a new report in the MyReports.config file specifically for URL checking:

1. Copy any existing Catalog brief results and give it a new name (e.g. URL Check), but add PageSize="0" to the header. 

2. Consider removing the Full Display and Add to Cart Links to reduce the number of internal links that the link checker will crawl.

3. Be sure to list the new report in the list of available Catalog reports at the bottom of the config file.

After searching the Catalog, select this report. All results will load into one page, rather than just 20 at a time.

Note that if you have more than 1,000 such records, only the first 1,000 may be returned. You can change this by adding TotalRecordsforXML=nnnn (where nnnn = some number, such as 2,000 or 5,000) to your WebPublisher PRO dbtwpub.ini configuration file (or icsweb.ini if you have the SQL version).

Contact us for help configuring query screens and reports to use this workflow in your Genie system.

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