Checking urls from Aleph Records using MarcEdit

There are tons of url link checkers for websites that will essentially give you a list of links that return errors (think dead links and 404 Forbidden Errors) for any given domain. I wanted to take that same concept and apply it our library catalog and its 11,000+ urls to electronic resources. Even without direct access to the backend database tables, I found a solution!

MarcEdit to the rescue. This free marc editing program has a nifty long-standing feature that verifies urls in a .mrc file. (The original posting “MarcEdit and URLs” can be found on Terry’s worklog, the creator’s personal blog.) When you run the report, it returns a list containing the contents of the “Title” and “URL” fields, as well as the Status Code and Status Message retrieved when navigating to that website. To personally make this work, I not only needed the .mrc file but I also needed to create an empty .html file before running the “Verify URL” Add-in. I also entered our system number field (001) instead of the “Title” field (245) so that I could find the exact record easier.

Before I could use MarcEdit though, I needed to pull the holding records out of Aleph. I started with the Items -> General Retrieval Form (ret-adm-01) to get a list of all of our electronic resource items. Then, I ran manage-70 Retrieve Record Keys to convert Items to Bib records. Then from Bib records to Holding records. I found that if I converted straight to holding records, the resulting list was missing a lot of records. This disparity is most likely because many of the items in question were never actually linked to the holding record in Aleph.

After converting record keys, I connected to the 60 library and ran Download Machine-Readable Records (print-03) with the “Field 1 + indicator” filled in as #####. Then, I downloaded the resulting file from the server to my local computer. In my instance, I also had to rename the file with .mrc at the end to indicate the proper format before it could be used with MarcEdit.

The result – a list of 1,005 records with errors out of over 11,000 total. Not great, but not bad for never checking these links in the past. Plus, no one had to click on each link to find all this information!