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Pointing at LINKcat: Redux

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Earlier this week, Kerri posted regarding how to link to library databases through the SCLS patron authentication system.

That article also pointed to an earlier article about the venerable (but retired) LINKcat URL Scrubber, whose links in turn redirected to the Scrubber's replacement, the LINKcat Link Advisor. Some folks tell me that this should be an Adviser, while Wikipedia tells me that advisor and adviser are "etymological twin cognates" (i.e., they mean the same thing).

Suffice to say that there are often different ways of labeling or pointing at a thing, particularly online. These ways are often completely interchangeable, and what does it really matter, so long as you get to where you want to go?

Well, the bottom line is that things do change, and on the web at an unrelenting pace. This means that some ways of pointing at a thing may suddenly become obsolete, such that if you were to follow that kind of pointer, you would not get to where you wanted to go.

This is where the LINKcat Link Advisor comes in. By creating a pointer that is canonical (scientifically speaking, having standardized coordinates), we can help ensure that this way of pointing at LINKcat will endure, even through sweeping changes. If your library website links to LINKcat, but you are not using the Advisor and its cousin the LINKcat Launcher, such changes could be a nasty surprise (and may be coming soon to a catalog near you).

After the Liblime Koha code branches for public libraries and academic libraries are merged, it is entirely likely that LINKcat will have an all-new URL scheme, a.k.a. an application programming interface (API). Pointers that use the old API syntax could (and probably will) fail to point at the desired target. Yet pointers that use the Launcher (the canonical way of pointing at LINKcat) will continue to work after the API migration. Why? Because the Launcher has its very own API, which we control.

Instead of ending the old way of pointing after Liblime Koha changes, the SCLS Launcher's local API will evolve to encompass and adapt to the new Liblime API, while still supporting backward compatibility. Old style Launcher links will automagically transform to the correct new form, and we will all still get to where we want to go. Learn more in the Link Advisor FAQ.

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