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Manage broken link reports from WorldCat Discovery

See how to manage emails generated from the "Report a broken link" form regarding errant knowledge base links. See how to troubleshoot and report the issue to OCLC. Learn about cooperative management options.

 Note: Find instructions to Enable "Report a broken link" and receive emails.

Receive broken link emails

About the emails

Email messages generated by use of the "Report a broken link" form come from When you receive a "broken link" email, a patron or library staff member was unable to access a full-text resource.

Expand for examples of errant link behavior

A link resolves to:

  • An error page; It fails to load
  • The wrong resource. For example, to:
    • An incorrect item with a similar title
    • An item from a different year
    • A print book instead of an eBook
  • A journal landing page instead of to an article
  • An item you do not own

Finding configuration errors is one of the primary benefits of enabling the "Report a broken link" form in WorldCat Discovery.

Plan to follow-up with your patron

The subject line of the email generated from the "Report a broken link" form will be one of the following:

  • Follow-Up Requested: Broken Link Report from [Name]
  • No Follow-Up Requested: Broken Link Report

If the person who completed the form left "Request librarian assistance" selected, the subject line will include "Follow-Up Requested." You can use the contact information to follow-up with the person after you address the issue causing an errant link.

OCLC will not receive broken link emails and will not automatically provide feedback or fix errant links. Once you review your library's configuration, if you need assistance, report the broken link to OCLC. OCLC will work with your library and does not need patron information.

Review your library's configuration

Check your institution settings

Verify settings in the WorldShare interface, Metadata > Collection Manager > Institution Settings.

Proxy settings

Review the Proxy settings checklist. Note that if the title with the errant link is from an open access collection, you might need to disable the proxy setting within the collection's settings in Collection Manager.

Check your proxy settings for off-campus access

Proxy Type

  1. Navigate to Institution Settings > Proxy and authentication > Proxy.
  2. Select Proxy:
    • None (default)
    • EZproxy
    • III WAM Proxy

Base URL

  • EZproxy users:
    • Enter your Base URL. Example of a EZproxy base URL:
  • III WAM Proxy users:
    • Enter the Hostname. Example of a III WAM Proxy hostname:

 Caution: Do not include a space after the Base URL.

Username and Password

(Optional) Enter your Username and Password. Providing username and password information is used by OCLC for de-bugging purposes only.

Provider settings

See if a provider-specific identifier is needed for links to resolve
Find information about Provider Settings in WorldShare Collection Manager.

About linking IDs

Collections from certain providers require identifiers specific to the provider in order for links to resolve to full-text. The ID is often included in the URL you use to access the provider's platform. For example, if you have an ID "XXX" from a provider:

  • You might access the provider's platform with the URL:
  • In Collection Manager, "XXX" would be the ID needed for Provider ID / Customer ID settings and once entered, the ID would be:
    • Automatically included in MARC records if outputting records from Collection Manager. For example: =856 40$u$zClick for resource
    • Referenced in corresponding links in your discovery interface. For example:

Configure provider settings

  1. First, see the table below to see if you have a collection from a provider that requires a linking ID. If your provider is listed, continue with the steps below. If you do not know your ID, contact your provider before you proceed:
  2. Navigate to Institution Settings > Provider Settings.
  3. Select your provider from the drop-down list.
  4. Enter the identifier from your provider.

 Note: In special situations, you might need to override a linking ID for a particular collection. For help, see Collection-level settings in knowledge base collections, Use Proxy.

Providers that require an ID Setting is always required Setting is only required when custom linking has been set up with the provider Vendor Specific Linking ID
Askews and Holts x   VLeBooks Organisation ID
CSA   x Base URL
China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI)   x Base URL
EBSCO A-to-Z x   Customer ID
EBSCOhost   x Authentication Type
EBSCOhost EJS (EBSCOonline)   x

EBSCOonline Customer Code


Elsevier   x

Scopus Partner ID

Expert Consult ID

Factiva x   Factiva XS-ID
Gale Cengage x   Location ID
Get It Now

WorldCat Discovery libraries configure Get It Now as an unmediated service which allows end users to purchase articles immediately. See How to configure Get It Now (unmediated service) for instructions.

WorldShare ILL libraries configure Get it Now as a mediated service.See Purchasing articles from Get It Now for instructions.

ILL Email Address

Bill to Email Address


Order Source

IRIS Education x   IRIS Education Library ID
Infobase x   Infobase Library ID
JSTOR   x OpenAthens Domain Name
Kanopy x   Kanopy Library ID
LexisNexis   x LexisNexis MIP
MD Consult   x  
National Library of Medicine   x Outside Tool User Name
Naxos Digital Services Ltd x   Naxos Library ID
OCLC   x  
Odilo   x Base URL
OverDrive x   Base URL
Ovid   x Base URL
ProQuest   x ProQuest account ID
ProQuest Ebook Central x   ProQuest ebook Library ID
ProQuest Safari x  

ProQuest Safari UI Code

O'Reilly Connection String for SAML SSO Access x Library ID
Recorded Books x   Library ID
Skillsoft EZproxy Domain   x EZproxy Server
Springer   x Base URL
Swank Digital Campus x   Swank Library ID
Teton Data Systems x   Group Alias
The HistoryMakers x   Site ID
VIP   x Base URL
Vandeplas Publishing x   Vandeplas Publishing Custom URL Path
Westlaw Campus   x Westlaw Site ID
e-libro x   e-libro ID-channel


Make sure the correct collection is selected

  1. Examine the email and collect the data you need to search for the knowledge base collection and title in Collection Manager.
  2. Search in Collection Manager. See Tips for using the search field.
  3. Verify that the correct collection and title is selected in the knowledge base.

Report the broken link to OCLC

If an errant link is not caused by a configuration error, you can report the errant link so that OCLC can correct the issue.

Contact OCLC Support with the following information, if you have it:

  • Your institution’s name
  • OCLC symbol or Registry ID
  • URL to the item
  • OCLC number of the item, if available
  • Collection ID of the collection from which the item appears
  • (Optional) Proxy credentials to access your resources*

*If you are unable to provide test proxy credentials, OCLC might need to conduct a screen-sharing session with your library to troubleshoot.

Cooperative options for fixing errant links

Many errant link issues need to be reported to OCLC in order for a correction to benefit all knowledge base users. However, you might have the option to edit knowledge base title data in Collection Manager and submit the enhancements to the global cooperative. If interested in exploring cooperative options, follow the recommendations below.

Edit URLs in global collections

A "broken link" in WorldCat Discovery is only sometimes caused by an erroneous URL or Linking Key. When there is a problem with a title-level URL or Linking Key in a provider-supplied collection, the best practice is to report the issue to OCLC Support. However, you can make edits to URLs in cooperative collections and submit them to the cooperative.

Cooperative (global.) collections

  • It is likely that you will be able to edit errant Title URLs and Linking Keys in a cooperative collection.

Cooperative collections are collections created by libraries that have been submitted to the cooperative. You can identify a cooperative collection by its collection ID. When a library creates a collection locally, the collection has customer. at the beginning of its collection ID. When the library submits the collection to the cooperative, it becomes a cooperative collection and has global. at the beginning of its collection ID.

Provider-supplied collections

  • You will not be able to edit an errant Title URL in a provider-supplied collection for the global cooperative. Errant URLs should be reported to OCLC Support so that OCLC can correct the issue in a way that is relevant for all libraries.

Provider-supplied collections are knowledge base collections that are loaded and updated by OCLC with data from providers. A provider-supplied collection can be identified by expanding the collection's Activity History accordion and looking for: Source: OCLC, Online Computer Library Center

Focus on other title-level data

A "broken link" in WorldCat Discovery is only sometimes caused by an erroneous URL or Linking Key. Often, missing or incorrect title-level data in the knowledge base causes erroneous associations with WorldCat records as items are surfaced in WorldCat Discovery. Therefore, we recommend that you focus on enhancing title-level knowledge base data.

For more information, see Best practices for cooperative edits.

Additional information

See How to update title information for instructions on submitting edits to the global cooperative.

After you save edits made in knowledge base title fields, any due changes in WorldCat Discovery will be visible after processing. Processing time varies but is not instant. Changes are often visible by the following day.

Once you submit your edits to the cooperative, your edits will be loaded to the global knowledge base.