You read that right - the LINKcat launcher script will be discontinued when we upgrade to Bibliovation starting at 9pm on December 6, 2019. After many, many years of service, the time has come to put the launcher script to rest.
Why are we discontinuing the launcher script?
Due to changes in technology and access to computers and mobile devices, the launcher script has outlived its original purpose. At the time the script was developed, the only computers available at the library for patrons were patron PCs on the SCLS network. SCLS staff developed the script to look at the computer's IP address, determine which library the patron was located in, and then place the patron into the correct library-branded LINKcat instance. As time went on, access to computers became more open, and patrons began bringing their own laptops and mobile devices to the library. These machines were not on the SCLS network, so the launcher script did not know that the patrons were physically in the library, and those patrons were not placed into the correct library-branded LINKcat instance. Instead, they were treated as "remote" patrons, meaning that they were placed into the "generic" LINKcat instance and they did not see the library's custom branding in LINKcat.
What does this mean for library staff?
The discontinuation of the LINKcat launcher script means that library staff will not be required to use the launcher script URL when adding links to LINKcat on library web sites. For many years, library staff have been required to use the "URL Scrubber" to make all LINKcat links launcher script URL-friendly. The URL Scrubber will be retired at the same time as the LINKcat launcher script, because there won't be a need to "scrub" the links.
Instead of using the "URL Scrubber" to generate LINKcat links, library staff will be able to copy and paste links from LINKcat. Library staff will have the option to use www.linkcat.info (which will continue to be the "generic" non-branded version of LINKcat) OR library staff can use their library's custom URL, which will be agy.linkcat.info, where "agy" is your library's three-letter code (for example, the URL for SUN will be sun.linkcat.info).
Will LINKcat still show my library's name and logo?
Yes! Library staff will be able to use their library's custom URL of agy.linkcat.info, which will display the library's name and logo. The library's custom URL will also display the library’s items first in the list of items for each title. Please note that currently these are the only two things that are different when using the library's custom URL. The patron's home library, default pickup location, or ability to place holds will not be affected in any way by using the library's custom URL.
Will the existing LINKcat links using the launcher script still work?
Yes! SCLS staff have developed a process that will automatically redirect launcher script links into LINKcat. This redirect will work for the vast majority of existing launcher script links (testing showed that less than one percent of launcher script links failed with the redirect).
What does this mean for patrons?
Most patrons will not notice a change. Patrons who have existing links saved that happened to be using the launcher script will still be able to use those links. Patrons will still be able to use www.linkcat.info to access LINKcat. Library staff are free to tell patrons about the custom library's URL if they choose, and patrons could use that custom URL either in the library or at home. Patron PCs in the library will continue to take patrons into the library's custom-branded LINKcat instance.
What do I do if I have questions or problems?