Good topic, Megan.
At CIDRAP, we spend a lot of attention and time on link checking and link
fixing. Our main news site has 10,344 outbound links to various sources, not
counting links that writers and editors have entered directly into our 4,800
articles. So we're familiar with link rot. To keep it at bay, we rely on the
* A scripted job that runs weekly using an open source Perl program
* Our in-house content management system, which checks links on pages
that writers are deploying to the site;
* A student worker (these apparently are available in large numbers at
* Daily log checking scripts
* An executive director with a knack for clicking on whatever broken
links slipped past all of the above.
I've also looked at some of the services and have friends outside of the U
that use them at their workplaces, but been turned off by the cost and
difficulty streamlining the correction process.
All of those techniques we use have pluses and minuses. And all of them have
a cost, though it might be time. LinkLint (www.linklint.org
<http://www.linklint.org/> ) is fairly easy to set up if you're comfy
working in unix and it can do a pretty good job. We've run into some
problems with it stalling on particular types of links, though, so that's
I do think that link checking would be a good central service for OIT to
provide. It seems like a common problem that can reflect poorly on the
University, so there would be a common good to commonly addressing it.
(Uncommon thinking, eh?)
Web Systems Architect
CIDRAP; University of Minnesota
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From: UofMN Web Standards [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 12:10 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [WEBSTANDARDS] Web link-checking service
We used to pay for a link-checking service to check all of our websites for
broken links (inbound, external, internal, orphaned, the gamut) and then
send weekly email reports to the specific webmaster. This enabled us to keep
link-rot away (provided we paid any attention to the reports).
We stopped that service (expense outweighed benefit at the time), and the
need is arising again.
What do you use to check for broken external links on your sites? I know we
can check for internal/orphaned links in Dreamweaver, but I don't know of a
free way to check all external links within a site, or of a reputable paid
Your thoughts welcome!
Megan Dushin, Web developer/coordinator
Institute on Community Integration | College of Education and Human
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