Simplified URLs in Beta

The URLs for the UF Digital Collections are now shorter and easier. The new programming, by Mark Sullivan, to support simplified URLs:

  • Shortens the base URL for UFDC
  • Prevents server names from showing (an ongoing issue during the major server move)
  • Removes the need for the aggregation code type indicator (the a, c , g, or s to indicate the aggregation between the “?” and “=”)
  • Removes the requirement for the aggregation query (which is “?=” and very confusing)
  • Enables the ability to assign new, persistent names for aggregation codes

With these now in place, the persistent URL displayed for the main collection pages have changed. The first four of these allows for the prior URL form:
To this:
The fifth and final item in the list above greatly enhances human readability by allowing for human-style aggregation names. Longer aggregation codes were not possible until recently. The total number of characters was limited, and programming in the past year has removed that strict limitation. Of course, this was recent and so many aggregation codes were created prior and have very short names, optimized for the old system and not for people.
For instance, the Florida Aerials collection was “flap” for Florida Aerials Project. That’s not readable or memorable and “Aerials” is a much better name because it’s a word, and a single word so it balances readability and concision. Now, FLAP has changed to Aerials and has a much simpler URL.
All of the new, simplified  URLs persist during usage so that the complicated forms won’t be shown. And, old URLs continue to work and they forward users to the new, simplified version of the URL.
We’re always in perpetual beta. I did not this as “in beta” because we’re hoping to simplify the root a bit more in the near future, so this is more beta than the normal perpetual-beta alone.
**NOTE: On 11/13/2010, I updated only the links in the above post. For the new links, I removed the “.uflib” which is no longer present in the links. Normally I don’t update posts like this (I write a new post or add a comment), but these links will be automatically indexed and so I updated them to make sure all patrons had access to the simplest links. I won’t be updating all prior links in posts, but I did in this post and that was the only change.

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