This past week I was reminded of a website maintenance chore I’ve been neglecting. An observant and sympathetic reader noted our link to the Meade Archive was broken because the site had moved. This kind of thing happens all the time, of course.

Cross-linking to other information is the best thing about the Web, but also its Achilles’ heel. Sites move, change, and disappear at an alarming rate. I have, at this point, thousands of links from within AotW to other sites. If there were dozens or even a hundred, I might be able to click on them every three months or so, to check to see that they still work.

Xenu button

Since that’s not practical, I depend on a lovely little automatic tool called the Xenu Link Sleuth (review w/screenshots). It’s a Windows desktop program–written by Tilman Hausherr–that runs through the site checking every link and reporting results. It’s quite fast, and also free. I’ve using it for 4 or 5 years now, and recommend it highly.

Xenu produces a variety of reports to show broken links, redirects, and other link issues. You can control how deeply Xenu spiders your site, include or exclude directories, and configure the reports to meet your needs. Very easy.

Word to the wise for our new digital historians: check those links, prevent link rot. ‘Course, now that I’ve done my first check in about a year, I have a huge pile of issues to chase down and resolve.

It’s not all glamor and glitz, you know.

Please Leave a Reply