Back in September, I summarised the results of a fairly basic analysis 
I'd undertaken on the use of 670/u in authority records. I've just 
repeated that analysis, and I'm no more encouraged by what I've 
discovered now than I was back in September.

Our Voyager system found 1452 instances of URL-type data in 670/a.

Of these, a manual analysis suggests:
   91 have parentheses wrapped around the URL
   94 have the URL followed by date information (almost certainly 
intended to be the "date viewed")
   17 have the URL followed by other sorts of extraneous non-URL data

Some browsers will be able to make some sense of all three types, but I 
don't think there's any doubt that all are incorrect expressions of the 
"URL". So that's 202 out of 1452 occurrences of the subfield that are 
deficient in some way. Just under 14% - or one record in seven.

Actually, the figure is higher than that because I didn't include in the 
above count the typos, invalid or impossible characters and other odd 
bits of detritus that I've found in the remaining 1250. (I particularly 
liked the record in which the URL included two blanks - itself not 
permitted according to my understanding of things - followed by a 
non-spacing underscore... Interesting!)

Last time I wrote, I asked if anyone wished to defend their right to 
include parentheses as "wrappers" in the 670/u, or to justify the 
inclusion of additional text? Nobody did - the messages I received 
supported my understanding of what was "correct". And yet the numbers 
continue to increase.

At the same time, it might also be worth considering just what's going 
into other subfields in 670s where there's a subfield u present. Often 
there's no subfield b (bearing in mind these are quite recent records, 
that seems contrary to what I understood we were supposed to be doing). 
And some of the information that's going into the subfield a looks a 
little odd, or is expressed strangely, e.g.
   main menu (Rubens Maciel; d. Aug. 24, 2004)

Finally, I threw all of the URLs at a link checker (Zenu). Here's a 
summary of the results:
   ok                                           1040
   forbidden request (but URL "looks" ok)         24
   moved (either permanently or temporarily)      60

   no such host, or page not found               288
    (NB: this includes the 91 in parentheses)

The remainder comprise a selection of technical messages (server error 
and the like).

Perhaps I just don't have enough things in my life to worry about, but I 
find quite a bit in what's above that causes me concern. Thank goodness 
it's Friday ;-)

Hugh Taylor
Head, Collection Development and Description
Cambridge University Library
West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR, England

email: [log in to unmask]   fax: +44 (0)1223 333160
phone: +44 (0)1223 333069 (with voicemail) or
phone: +44 (0)1223 333000 (ask for pager 036)