Short URLs for the university

Nick Jackson, a computing student and part-time member of ICT staff, has developed, a University of Lincoln branded service for shortening links. Read all about it here. Be sure to read the comments to get a good idea of how he intends to improve the service.

This little project was in response to reading Bernie’s blog post about how a student wanted to use short links in his dissertation.

I see that Nick’s in contact with the Internet Archive’s 301Works to guarantee long-term sustainability of the links, too.

6 Replies to “Short URLs for the university”

    1. I’ve been looking at ways of preventing this kind of abuse and maintaining the ‘institutional’ side of the service. At the moment the basic idea is as follows:

      1) We maintain a whitelist of ‘known good’ domains which can be minified without question. Things like university owned domains, JISC, various library destinations, key newspapers and so on.

      2) Sites not on the whitelists can be minified providing that either the user is logged in (with an institutional account) or upon completion of a CAPTCHA. API access will require an API key for this, which will be tied to a user account as well. Those abusing the system will be duly booted.

      3) A ‘bad domain’ option for things like goatse – the link will still forward, but the first time a user visits the minified link (as determined by cookie) they will be warned that the destination may be inappropriate. The next time they visit the minified link it will fire a 307 redirect instead of a 301, so caches don’t start bypassing the warning page.

      Other suggestions or problems are welcome.

      1. Glad to hear you’re thinking about the possible misuse of the system.

        I can provide you with a list of publishers’ domains, if that would be useful for your whitelist.

  1. Nick has done a great job with the URL shrinker, and it has been indeed useful for my dissertation footnotes (thanks Nick, Bernie).

    The fact that Nick is in touch with is amazing, especially as Bernie’s concerns of using a third-party URL shortening service were due to the fact that it could close down and lose the links.

    Developments for the next versions of are promising, but even the basic functionality right now is great (note that Nick changed the need to remove the http:// bit from the beginning of the URL when pasting the long URL in — thanks!).

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