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Making a website link to an item in LINKcat? Use the LINKcat Web URL Scrubber!

Task lighting on a bookshelf
Make it easier to find books
in LINKcat

Let's say you're adding a list of upcoming book club reads to your library's website.  Wouldn't it be great to add a link for each title to take your book clubbers directly into LINKcat to place holds on the upcoming titles?  You betcha! 

First you find the page in LINKcat that shows the first title and the list of available copies, and copy the URL from the address bar.  What you do next could mean the difference between making life simple and convenient for your patrons, or giving them a frustrating experience that results in complaints to the library.  Do you...

  • Make the link on your website with the same URL copied directly from the address bar?
  • Paste the URL into the LINKcat Web URL Scrubber to generate a "clean" URL to use for your link?  (Hint:  remember the title of this post!)

If you answered "Make the link with the same URL copied directly from the address bar," you might be setting your patrons up for failure.  The URL for the item, copied directly from the address bar, contains session information identifying the library where you did the original search.  Most of the time, this doesn't make a difference -- until you're linking to an item that your library owns.  Remember how patrons can't place holds on items owned by the library, when they're at the library?  That session information in the URL makes LINKcat think that the patron is still inside the library, even if they're looking at it from home.  If your patrons want to place a hold on an item that your library owns, using the wrong link into LINKcat will prevent them from placing a hold from home.

Here's an example so you can see the difference (using an old favorite!):

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, linked with an unscrubbed URL (Look at the top-left corner of the page -- LINKcat will think you are on a LINK computer at Madison Public Library, even if you're not)

Pride and Prejudice, linked with a scrubbed URL (For scrubbed links, LINKcat identifies whether you're on a library computer on the LINK network or not—if you're not, you'll see the LINKcat logo in the top-left corner)

We want links to items and searches in LINKcat to work for patrons no matter where the are.  Using the LINKcat Web URL Scrubber removes the problem-causing session information from a LINKcat URL so that patrons can always place holds from home!


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Great tip, Rose! I'm totally going to use this.

Thanks for the explanation Rose. I've been using the scrubber for links to the catalog when I write book reviews for our web site, but I was never really clear on why "scrubbing" was necessary. Until now.
Thanks again!

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