Related product Link Resolver (SFX)

SFX Navigation

Reporting Broken Target Links in CARLI's SFX Environment

From time to time, users will click through an SFX menu to a target and the target link will fail. In order to improve users' experience, libraries need to receive problem reports that contain enough information that the problem can be replicated and resolved—if not by the library then by CARLI staff, by Ex Libris developers, or by the source or target system vendor, depending on where the problem actually is.

This document describes the two formal mechanisms for libraries to collect thorough problem reports about broken target links from SFX: the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target and the Report Broken Link feature. By default, CARLI staff activate the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target for each SFX instance on the CARLI server, either directly in the library's local instance or, on the library's behalf, in the CARLI shared instance. Libraries that want to implement the Report Broken Link feature, either instead of or in addition to the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target, may do so in their local instance.

The following table summarizes the differences between the two approaches. Details about each approach follow the table.

  LOCAL_FEEDBACK Target "Report Broken Link" Feature
Template requirements: Usable with either Advanced (old-style) or Simplified menu templates Works with Simplified menu template only
Position/visibility on SFX menu: Depends on local configuration for sequence of services: CARLI requires getWebService be included among Basic Services (so LOCAL_FEEDBACK target not buried under Advanced services in a collapsed menu), but LOCAL_FEEDBACK-GetWebService will generally display below any getFullTxt services on the menu Highly visible: link appears next to each target name after the user has clicked that target link
Volume of feedback, based on CARLI libraries' experience: Low to moderate Moderate to high
Librarian gets automatic notification? Yes, as configured in $$YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS Only if configured in SFXAdmin-->Menu Configuration-->Menu Design-->Simplified Template and Mobile Configuration-->Target Design (formerly config/beacon.config_ file)
Ex Libris gets automatic notification? No Yes
Ex Libris takes action in Global KB? Not unless CARLI or the library specifically opens a support case Yes, after they receive sufficient volume of feedback from multiple SFX sites worldwide
Patron contact info available for follow-up? Yes Only if library configures feature to allow user contact info, and only if user supplies the info


The LOCAL_FEEDBACK target allows users to report a problem directly to their own library. Perhaps more significantly, the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target allows users to include in their problem report (without the need for conscious action) the OpenURL that generated the SFX Menu on which they encountered the problem they are reporting. This will greatly facilitate troubleshooting.

As implemented by CARLI staff, the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target will display under the heading "Get Help," at the bottom of the "Basic" group of services on the SFX Menu. The target itself will say, "Did a link fail? Report a problem." Libraries may customize the target's appearance from this CARLI default.

For libraries that have opted to link their SFX instance to the CARLI shared instance, CARLI staff place the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target on the libraries' SFX Menus by activating the target in the shared instance. For the remaining libraries, CARLI staff activate the target in the libraries' own SFX instances. In order to customize the appearance of the target, a library will need to activate and configure the target in its own instance. Libraries that do not use the SFX UNIX File Manager may request the necessary files from the .

LOCAL_FEEDBACK Target on the SFX Menu
The LOCAL_FEEDBACK Target on the SFX Menu

  • To customize the text "Report a Problem," activate LOCAL_FEEDBACK- getWebService in your local SFX instance. Then, edit the Public Name of the target (SFXAdmin->Targets->LOCAL_FEEDBACK->[E]dit->Public Name).
  • To customize the text "Did a link fail?," activate LOCAL_FEEDBACK-getWebService in your local SFX instance. Then, edit the Public Name of the service (SFXAdmin->Targets->LOCAL_FEEDBACK->[S]ervices->[E]dit->Public Name).
  • To change the position of this target relative to other targets on the menu, or of this and other getWebService targets relative to other service groups of targets, use SFXAdmin->Menu Configuration->Simplified Template and adjust the precedence. (CARLI best practice is for the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target to continue to display without requiring an extra click, however, so if you enable the collapsible menu on the Menu Design tab you must include getWebService among the Basic services on the Service Precedence tab.)


The "Report a Problem" form is fully customizable.

To customize wording or formatting, edit templates/targets/feedback/feedback.tmpl.

To add fields or to change which fields are required, edit cgi/public/feedback.cgi.

LOCAL_FEEDBACK Acknowledgement Page
The LOCAL_FEEDBACK Acknowledgement Page

The "Message Sent" page is fully customizable.

To customize, edit /templates/targets/ feedback/msgsent.tmpl.

Subject: SFX Feedback
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 13:46:30 -0600 Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
To: Content-Transfer-Encoding: 
quoted-printable From: Jane Doe<> 

** User Comments **
When I click on "GO" for <snip> I get "Page not found."

** Metadata **

Journal: The publishers weekly Year: 2004
ISSN: 0000-0019

The LOCAL_FEEDBACK Form's Output

Problem reports, including the OpenURL that generated the particular Menu, are emailed to the address defined in the KnowledgeBase.

  • If the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target appears on the library's SFX Menu because the target has been activated in the CARLI shared instance, CARLI staff must modify the address to which problem reports are sent. Send requests for change to the .
  • If the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target is activated in the library's own SFX instance, the library's SFX administrator can modify the address to which problem reports are sent, at SFXAdmin->Targets->LOCAL_FEEDBACK->[S]ervices->[L/P]-> $$YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS.

The Report Broken Link Feature

As of SFX version 4.4, the Report Broken Link feature allows users to send problem reports directly to Ex Libris, and to one or more local email addresses as well. As of SFX version 4.8.1, users may request a reply to their problem report. The Report Broken Link feature is enabled by default; libraries may disable it. The Report Broken Link feature is more visible on the SFX menu than the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target, so users are more likely to click on it.

  • If your library decides to leave the Report Broken Link feature enabled and to use it instead of the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target, then CARLI requires you to configure it to send reports to a local email address.
  • If your library decides to leave the Report Broken Link feature enabled and to use it in addition to the LOCAL_FEEDBACK target, then CARLI strongly recommends (but does not require) that you configure it to send reports to a local email address.

Because Ex Libris will act on problem reports only in the aggregate, CARLI's SFX System Committee believes users can best be served if someone in the library receives the users' problem reports and undertakes to act on them promptly. Even if Broken Link reports do not contain the user's contact information, when the library acts promptly on problem reports that are within their power to act on, returning users will have the satisfaction of seeing their reported problem resolved. Instructions for how to configure (or disable) the Report Broken Link feature are in the SFX General User's Guide.

Note that the Report Broken Link feature is designed to work with the SFX Simplified Templates, rather than the Advanced (old-style) templates for the SFX menu. The "Report broken link" link will appear immediately after the target link on the SFX menu, but only once the user has clicked the target link. A user who returns to the SFX menu window after clicking through (or attempting to click through) to the target will see the new "Report" link appear: 

Report broken link example screen