StaffGuide: Electronic Serials

Electronic Serials

URL Checker


In the Cataloging Module, select “Create Lists”.  Create a list with the parameters you wish to select.  To run the checker against Open Access Journals, create a list of those.

Next, go to the “URL Checker”.  To do this, find the “Go” .  Find the "Go" from the top menu, and open the URL checker

URL Checker

Select the “Create” icon from the top menu:

URL Checker

Once the window appears, select “Specify another Range” and choose “Review” from the drop down menu on the far left.  Select your list from the menu on the right:

URL Checker

Select “OK”.  It will run the checker against the list you have selected.


The URL checker is only able to run one list at a time.  Other librarians are able to run the list or may have to run it against other parameters, besides the Open Access List. 

The Open Access List, when run, checks all of the 856 URLs and records errors into different categories.  For a list of error Categories and their meanings, please see Appendix A.


Once you have opened the URL Checker, choose “Interactive report” from the top right menu. 

URL Checker

This will take you to the most current list of broken URLs.   To limit the list to specified errors, like 404 errors, uncheck all over the other parameters.  The list will then be filtered by your selections only.

NOTE: Only one person at a time is allowed access to the Interactive List.

The list is divided into 7 columns. 

URL checker

  1. The Record # column contains bib. number and is the default for sorting the list.  If you wish to sort by URL, you have to select that column’s header.
  2. The GO column represents a button that will take you directly to the reported URL.  This allows you to verify if the URL is still broken and may give you a starting domain to find a working URL.  Pressing the GO button for a particular URL will launch your default browser and take you straight to the resource.
  3. The URL column contains the broken link.
  4. The Error column notes which error code the URL has produced (for list of standard HTML error codes, see Appendix A).
  5. The next GO column will automatically open the link displayed in the “New URL” column.
  6. The New URL column is used for inputting the correct or new URL you wish to replace for the existing URl in the bibliographic record.  
  7. The last column contains check boxes for selecting the URLs you want to correct as part of the batch process.


Viewing the Record:  It is possible to view and edit bibliographic records directly from this list by selecting the “Edit” icon from the top right.  

NOTE: The new window has a ‘locked’ size which you cannot stretch, enlarge, or shrink. 

Opening the URL:  By selecting the button under a “GO” column, you can launch a browser window directed to the URL to the right of the Go button.

Filtering the List: To filter out certain error types from the list, unselect the boxes at the Results tab.  Bib. records with URLS with those types of errors will not appear on the list.

URL Checker


Exporting the list into an Excel file can be an easy way to free the list in the Cataloging module for other users, delegate the finding of correct open access urls for users, dividing the task of correcting large lists of broken URLs, and easily identify URLs you have already corrected.

  1. To export the list into a file, select Tools -> Export:URL Checker
  2. Give the file a name, then save it to the file directory of your choice.URL Checker
  3. Open the file you have exported in Microsoft Excel.
  4. Accept the default choices in the Text import wizard by selecting “NEXT” three times.
  5. Now you have your own Excel version of the list which can be manipulated, distributed, and divided with other people.

Finding New URLS:

The process for finding the electronic version of the resource will vary depending on personal experience & preference, advice.  A list of tips and helpful advice can be found in Appendix B: Guide Finding Open Access Titles on the Web.

When you find a possible replacement URL, keep these guidelines in mind:

  1. Make sure the online resource you have found has a title that matches or closely matches the title from the 245 or TITLE field in the bibliographic record.  Note any differences.
  2. Identify the available issues or years for the resource and compare them to the listed holdings in the bibliographic record.  (Holdings always appear in the |z portion of the 856 field.).  Note any differences.
  3. To translate a resource that is in a language you can’t read, right-click on the website and use the browser’s built-in translator for languages.  
  4. We only use open access URLS for full-text resources.  Do not add URLs for index or abstracts only.
  5. Do not spend more than fifteen minutes searching for a correct URL. 

Replacing URLs: The Batch Process Method

Once you have pasted a new URL in the list, you can use the system to automatically replace the old one in the bibliographic record.  This is especially useful if you are correcting multiple records at once.  Once you paste the new URL in the new URL column, check the selection box next to it, and select the “Preview Tab”.  The Preview tab shows all of the records you have selected for a correction, and includes the old URL and new URL.  Selecting the “Process” button, all new URLs will replace the old in the 856’s of the selected titles automatically. 

URL Checker

NOTE: This process will not remove the title(s) from the interactive list.  These titles will only go away when the list is re-run and the URLs no longer bounce back error messages.

Manual Corrections

Those who have the proper authorizations and training can also manually replace the URL into the bibliographic record.  This is helpful to correct single URLs and update the holdings, if they have also changed.   Just select “Edit” from the list view and edit the URL and holdings, if applicable.  Only those with the proper authorizations and training should be directly editing the bibliographic records. 


  1. No URL is found: When you have spent at least 15 minutes on an item or you have determined that the resource no longer exists, print out a copy of the bibliographic record, write “No longer found online” across the top of the print-out, and turn it in to the Library Technician in Serials Cataloging.  If the title is an internet-only title (no print holdings) and this is the only URL in the record, Serials Cataloging will withdraw the title.
  2. URL is found, but resource is only available with paid subscription: Give to Serials Librarian in the Serials Department.
  3. A URL is found, but the resource’s title online has changed: Give to the Serials Supervisor in the Serials Department
  4. Available issues extend beyond the scope of the title’s beginning or ending dates (from 362): Give to the Serials Supervisor in the Serials Department
  5. Any other problems: Give to Department Head.


The following is a list of codes returned for problem URLS, in order of urgency.

404- Not Found

            Meaning: The URL is not working.  The page has moved or no longer exists.

Action: The URL needs to be researched to determine if the resource still exists.  The record can then be updated or deleted.

-5—Host Unreachable

            Meaning: The URL is not working.  The page has moved or no longer exists.

Action: The URL needs to be researched to determine if the resource still exists.  The record can then be updated or deleted.

301—Moved Permanently

            Meaning: The website has redirected the browser to a new URL.

            Action: The record should be updated to the new URL.


Meaning: The server refused the connection.  Our URL may lack the closing element (index.html, default.asp) that is required for access.

            Action: The URL should be researched and updated.

-1—Connection Refused

Meaning: The server refused the connection.  Our URL may lack the closing element (index.html, default.asp) that is required for access.

            Action: The URL should be researched and updated.

505—HTML Version Not Supported

Meaning: The server does not support, or refuses to support, the HTTP protocol version that was used in the request message.  This may mean that we are asking for asp pages, and they only have php, for example.

            Action: The URL should be researched and corrected.

500—Internal Server Error

Meaning: The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.  Things could be broken on their end.  Could be temporary.   

            Action: This should be investigated in case our records need to be updated or the vendor contacted.

502—Bad Gateway

Meaning: The server, while acting as a gateway or proxy, received an invalid response from the upstream server it accessed in attempting to fulfill the request.  Usually this is our proxy server having troubles talking to the remote server and a temporary issue. 

            Action: These should only be checked if other problems have already been addressed.

503—Service Unavailable

Meaning: The server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overloading or maintenance of the server. The implication is that this is a temporary condition which will be alleviated after some delay.

            Action: The record should be checked to determine if the service is back online or if there is a better URL to use.

-4—Connection Timeout

Meaning: The server did not respond in a reasonable amount of time.  This could be because our network was slow.

            Action: Test URLS to see if it is still correct.

302—Moved Temporarily

            Meaning: The requested resource resides temporarily under a different URL. 

            Action: These should only be checked if other problems have already been addressed.

-2 3—No URL

Meaning: The III system has a problem with the URL, which may or may not be valid.  Either the site has moved more than once or the system was unable to connect.

            Action: These should only be checked if other problems have already been addressed.


1. Check the domain URL by stripping away all elements up to the .org, .com, or .edu.  For example, for a broken link like this:

try this:

Hopefully, you will get back to a main homepage and can then find the issue or title in another page off the same site.

2. Look in OCLC.  Sometimes the OCLC record can have an updated URL to the resource.

3. Identify areas of a homepage where publications might exist.  For journals and newsletters, try looking for the word “publications”, “press”, or “what’s new”.  For annual reports, try looking in the “About us” or “Investor relations” section.

4. Use the “Search” boxes of the main sites to find a publication.

5. Try a Google search on the author or title.  Be sure to put your terms in quotation marks.  For example:

“Ouachita Society of American Foresters”  not Ouachita Society of American Foresters.

PLEASE NOTE: When using Google, it is important to find an equivalent type of url so the url from a free resource is not replaced with a paid type of resource.  This can be difficult to assess from campus because the proxy recognizes the IP and so the proxy doesn't display in the browser on the url line.   If in doubt work with your supervisor.

6. Try the Internet WayBack Machine: .  This can be useful at examining the sites before they became invalid to see if there was ever a redirect link posted.  Also useful for harvesting Arkansas serials which are no longer available.