Something nice about OCLC

April 17, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OK, so I have to admit that sometimes OCLC likes to share, after all. From Jessamyn’s Pimp my Firefox handout I finally found out about Link Evaluator, a really nifty little tool you can run to check the links on a webpage to see if they are still valid. It is shared by Openly Informatics, now part of OCLC (who isn’t, these days?). (The sharp eye of the cataloger notes a presumed typo on their “about” page: “At the beginning of 2006, OCLC was acquired by OCLC.” Uh huh.) [ETA: I will undoubtedly discover that this post is riddled with typos as soon as I put it up on the web.]

My initial response: Wow, what a great idea! And it’s free!

My response after trying it: Gee, I wish the link status indication didn’t go away after you click away from the page and then click back. I guess if you set your browser to open all links in a new window, this wouldn’t be a problem?

Further response: Another great example of what automation and can can’t do. Let’s try evaluating the links on a page, say, something vitally connected to the world of librarianship like Yarn Harlot’s post on thrummed mittens. (Catalogers are not the only ones who use a lot of jargon.)

So I pop into Tools, and down to Evaluate Links, and watch Link Evaluator perform its colorful magic. Here’s where automated tools are great: it’s fast. It’s easy. Here’s where automation is not so great, or at least can’t stand on its own without human intervention: it’s not always accurate. I am dying to know what Stephanie meant by “not traditional, but devastating,” but the link to the devastating mittens only goes to a “page or resource not found” page. Yet the link highlight is green–admittedly, a slightly pale green, but still green.

It may be that tinkering with the settings of LE will allow it to pick up more problem pages, and no tool is perfect…especially one that is free…but it’s another example of how automated tools can’t replace human intervention and quality control.

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