Keep it stable to link to
All things change, as time goes by. Outdated bookmarks and dead links are common problems. Is there a solution?
As known from other projects, a folder structure mapped into a URL is a crucial point. That’s why we tried to prevent to map folder structure into URLs. A typical URL in our project is e.g.: https://floragreif.uni-greifswald.de/?flora_search=Record&record_id=4709.
First we have a ‚header‘: https://floragreif.uni-greifswald.de/, this won’t change unless we decided to change the domains name, which is unlikely, but still possible.
Then, we have a ‚parameter that indicates what to search for‘: ?flora_search=Record, records in this case, and ‚further parameter to refine the search‘: &record_id=4709. In this case, it’s the object ID of the record.
In our project, as in many others, too, it’s within the responsibility of the administrators to keep the URL stable to link to. All the user can do is to trust in the administrators knowledge and experience.
If you are not sure whether you are able to guarantuee stable URLs to the users of your homepage, you may find it helpful to use the DOI (digital object identifier) service. How does that work? You compile a list of URLs and send them to your DOI registry service. This service will generate DOIs according to your list. From now on, your users will bookmark the DOI instead of the URL.
As time goes by, and you want to restructure your website, you just generate a list of the new URLs, and send them to your DOI registry service. The users, having bookmarked the DOI instead of the URL, often won’t even notice that your restructured the content on your webserver.
- A URL is called stable if the expected content is still available.
- A homepage that went off-line has no chance to keep its URLs stable.
- After a restructuring/reorganization of contents it’s very likely that URLs are no longer available.
- It is good practice to redirect requests for out-dated URLs after reorganization of content.
- Check the opportunity to use DOI registry service.
text by: U. Najmi