I've received a couple of questions recently about the 856 links in LC records for the TOCs, descriptions, bios, sample texts, etc. and wanted to spread the word about what we did.
Every month, around the first of the month, folks run their link checkers to validate the links in their copies of LC records. The volume of traffic against our web server was tremendous. A couple of times it nearly brought the server down. We tried several things to minimize the impact if it looked like a link checker was running against the web server, but this didn't seem to help the problem. In the end, we moved all of the files that are in the 856 fields to a different, larger, more robust server. Apparently this is causing link checkers to report that there is a redirect and people are asking if they need to change the URL for the links. I would say that there is no need to change the 856 links from http://www.loc.gov... to http://catdir.loc.gov.... In fact, I am still adding the URLs as http://www.loc.gov...
LC is committed to maintaining these URLs, you should not be experiencing access problems with them except when running link checkers or maybe harvesters. I appreciate any reports of wrong connections or other serious problems with the files. By my count, we have over 710,000 links in the LC catalog now, so you can see this is a major commitment for LC.
Friday, May 16, 2008
News about 856 links from LOC.