The URL Clearinghouse FAQ

What is The URL Clearinghouse?

The URL Clearinghouse is a directory of instructions for creating URLs to databases and e-journals licensed from publishers by libraries and other information providers. These are the URLs that are maintained in OPACs, Web sites, databases, course pages, guides, proxy server configurations, etc.

What kinds of URLs are featured in the Clearinghouse?

The Clearinghouse focuses on URLs that point to databases and e-journals at the title level. Where discovered on a vendor's site, the option to create deep links at the article level and other deep levels is noted but no instructions are included.

What kinds of publishers will be found in the Clearinghouse?

The Clearinghouse focuses on publishers that offer multiple titles, e.g., OCLC with its FirstSearch databases, Ingenta with its IngentaConnect e-journals.

Few e-books or other electronic texts are included at this time, although some of the vendors featured in the Clearinghouse offer such items. These can be added if anyone has the interest.

Why have a URL Clearinghouse?

While many libraries purchase URL lists (e.g., Serials Solutions) or intra-vendor linking services (e.g., SFX), librarians continue to create their own URLs. URLs for licensed resources can be a challenge to locate and to construct.

Publishers employ many different types of URLs; see URL Types for more information. Unfortunately, some publisher Web sites offer no linking instructions, though they may require a URL structure that is different from the one employed on their sites. Other sites do feature the recommended URLs, but do not indicate that these are the ones to use. In addition, publishers don't always pay close attention to the URLs on their sites and present them inconsistently. Still other publishers do offer URL instructions, but it isn't easy to locate them on their sites. Since every publisher is different, a new situation needs to be figured out whenever a new publisher comes along.

As with anything that is so varied and based on technology, there are tricks of the trade and best practices to be followed for reliable results. Unfortunately, there are no formal standards and no defined community of users that has shared this information.

Most librarians responsible for creating these URLs work in isolation. This means that many of us are figuring out the same thing from scratch. The URL Clearinghouse can serve as a centralized repository of strategies for creating publisher URLs. This has the obvious advantage of saving time and effort.

Who should use The URL Clearinghouse?

Anyone who is responsible for creating URLs to licensed resources. This may include catalogers, bibliographers, instruction librarians, Webmasters, etc.

Who maintains The URL Clearinghouse?

This is an open wiki. Anyone who works in the field and would like to add or update the information on this wiki are encouraged to do so. You will need to register an account with Wikidot in order to edit pages. Please help to maintain this resource!

The URL Clearinghouse was founded by Laura B. Cohen, Web Support Librarian at the University at Albany, SUNY. After maintaining the Clearinghouse as a local database for many years, she transferred the content to this wiki so that the community could work together to maintain this resource.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License