What's Mine is YOURLS

Brief Abstract

Hyperlink management is critical to website functionality because a site with dead links is not fully operable for the end user. In educational institutions links used for marketing, course materials, library resources, social media, and other uses are laborious to maintain and often these links are long and unreadable. In order to streamline link maintenance and improve link readability for end users, an open source, short link manager called YOURLS was implemented at an academic library. Not only does YOURLS shorten links, it also acts as a database of links and as a link manager. Long URLs are then shortened into compact readable formats on a hosted domain. With YOURLS, URL updates for existing resources can be done in one place, negating the need to update all instances of a URL on different platforms. Short links are easier to remember and can be used in various forms of promotion through social media, email, and printed material. Session Structure: The timing of the session will be as follows: 25 minutes lecture, 10 minutes exercise, and 5 minutes question and answer. We will first focus on the challenges of managing hyperlinks in the various content and learning management systems that educators use. Then we will show how to set-up a short link server and create a short domain (which further assists with the utility of short links). The short link server and domain was implemented to streamline access for our users and improve the link maintenance workflow. We will then demonstrate the types of statistics that can be pulled from YOURLs to show how the links are redirected. Following this, we will have an exercise by which each participant creates a short link and share it with another participant vocally, in writing, through email, or on social media. Lastly, we will give suggestions on how to implement a short link server at other institutions. Outcomes: Participants will learn the benefits of a short link server in an educational environment, have hands-on experience in creating and sharing short links, as well as understand the steps necessary to implement a short link domain and server.


Kimberly R. Abrams is the Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. Her primary research interests are in electronic resource management and collection development.
Junior Tidal is the Web Services & Multimedia Librarian, Associate Professor for the New York City College of Technology, CUNY. He is author of Usability and the Mobile Web: A LITA Guide. His research interests include information architecture, mobile usability, and web analytics.

Extended Abstract