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Updating URLs after transitioning to the new Primo interface

If you work at a library that has or soon will be transitioning to the new Primo interface, and if you have research guides or other web pages that link into content from the old interface, read on because you may want to consider doing a URL updating project even though there’s an automatic redirect.

First of all, if you link to searches done in regular Primo (not the journals a-z list), those apparently don’t redirect. If you link to items from regular Primo or to Journals list items or searches, there’s a redirect but it takes a long time to resolve — about 25 seconds in my library’s configurations. Long enough for me to click a link, get a drink of water from the fountain outside my office, come back, and still wait a bit for the screen to load. (Plus it flashes through a couple of weird pages including a “zero results” page that just isn’t true.) And finally, the old Journals list didn’t have an option to search by ISSN, so many results (like if you’re looking for the journal Science) were pretty messy. The new platform does have an ISSN search, which is far more accurate for direct linking.

Given all of this, I’m updating every URL from our libguides to our catalog, both to make it resolve directly to the new interface and to have journals resolve to an ISSN search whenever possible. If you want to do something similar you can follow (or improve upon) my process.

Learn how to distinguish between old an new URLs.

The main distinguishing features of my campus’ configuration is that the old URLs contain /primo_library/ and the new URLs contain /primo-explore/ instead. In addition, there are three sub-types of URLs that might be useful to know:

  1. Primo Query URLs (the ones that probably won’t redirect)
    1. Old: [your institution].com/primo_library/libweb/action/…
    2. New: [your institution].com/primo-explore/search?…
  2. Primo single record permalinks
    1. Old: [your institution].com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?…
    2. New: [your institution].com/primo_library/libweb/action/…
  3. Primo Journals A-Z list
    1. Old: [your institution].com/primo_library/libweb/action/…
    2. New: [your institution].com/primo-explore/jsearch?…

Pull your list of old URLs

So now you can go into the Search/Replace feature of Libguides and do a search for all content items containing the URL snippet either for all of the old versions, or for each of the three sub-types of the old version, depending on your workflow.

NOTE: You cannot use the Replace feature built into Libguides because the old URLs put search terms at the end of the URL, but the new URLs put the search terms both into the middle and at the end.

So, do your search, and then select all the records Libguides pulls back for your search, and paste them into a spreadsheet. I then delete the messier/unnecessary columns so that I end up with a first column to indicate whether I’ve fixed that URL or not followed by three of the columns that Libguides generated: Asset ID, Asset Type, and Asset Title. (I used Google Sheets for this.)

If you’re like us, you’ll have several hundred links to update, all told. And obviously this will be a lot less painful if you do a project BEFORE starting this project to go through and consolidate multiple copies of links. And unfortunately there’s no automated option to do that consolidation project, either.

Updating Libguides assets

Now the fun part ends and the tedious part begins. Here’s a little screen cast of how I change each link. And if you prefer words, here’s the process:

  1. Have two tabs open: your new Journals A-Z search and the spreadsheet from Libguides.
  2. Click on the link to the Asset ID to open the Libguides record for that asset
  3. Open the asset for editing
  4. Collect the URL and open it in a new tab – you now have two tabs that are “temporary,” the Asset and the Redirected-and-Resolved Primo tab
  5. For journal records, open a record for the correct journal and collect its ISSN
  6. Back in the tab for the Journals search on the new platform, search for that ISSN
  7. Collect the URL from the new platform’s ISSN search and paste it into the Libguides asset’s URL field.
  8. Click “Save” and close the two “temporary” tabs.
  9. Mark the column in your spreadsheet so that you know that this asset has been updated.

For URLs that don’t need any special investigating (figuring out exactly which journal was intended or if there are special limiters invoked in the original Primo search that you need to recreate in the new search, etc) it takes nearly a minute per asset, so it’s definitely a good idea to listen to podcasts or audio books or something while you work your way through the spreadsheet.

Published inSearch and DiscoveryServices