The Office of Library Services is pleased to report that we have completed a thorough review of 856 (URL) fields in our catalog. On Thursday, November 5, we emailed the Cataloging Committee members explaining how to access their school’s error list in the Aleph task manager and providing details about the results.
- a school-specific report listing all the problem fields
- a method for temporarily removing these broken URLs from OneSearch
- an easy method for catalogers to update Aleph and OneSearch once the 856 fields are corrected
- an easy method for catalogers to obtain updated lists of any remaining broken 856 fields
To that end, suspect 856s fields have been marked in the Aleph cataloging record with an 856 sub-field ($zBroken Link). For example:
Until the link is fixed and the subfield is removed, the URL will not appear in OneSearch.
When the cataloger corrects the link in the 856 field, they will also remove the Broken Link subfield and, later that day or the next day (depending on the time of the update), the link will reappear in OneSearch.
While we have provided a list of broken links for each campus, any Aleph power user can easily get an updated list via an Aleph CCL (Common Command Language) search. For example, this search will output all broken links owned by CUNY Central (OWN=AL):
WUR="broken link" AND WOW=AL
To help you get started, we are recommending that catalogers prioritize the error list in the following way?s
- Troubleshoot e-resource-only records first (before mixed print+electronic). If these don’t work, the records have no reason to exist.
- Identify 856s in old records (government docs and books) that point to non-full-text content (like table of contents). Consider removing those without assessment.
- Identify 856s for online versions of print material. Update if possible, otherwise remove the links (PURLs often don’t work).
In September, we wrote about new error checks for the 856 field that had been added in the Aleph GUI. These error checks allow the cataloger to open a record, press CTRL-U (Check Record), and get an error report showing the type of error. Clicking on that error will take them directly to the problematic 856 field.
That September blog entry also lists all the MARC fields which can contain a URL. At the beginning of this project, we reviewed the content of all those other URL fields (505, 506, etc) and found that their use was extremely rare at CUNY. For that reason, we only ran this URL checking process on 856 fields.
Since we have added the GUI-based URL checks, we do not anticipate running this process more than once a year.