About URLS

The URLs in CONTENTdm are RESTful (REpresentational State Transfer) and look quite different from the query-based URLs of earlier versions. RESTful URLs are general; that is, they do not contain references to the underlying technology (e.g., no ".php" or ".asp" or ".htm" appears in any of them, and no "?" or "&" with Web parameters). An advantage of having more general URLs is that they are more likely to have a longer lifetime and be more resistant to changes in technology. They are also better for search engine optimization.

Version 5 Compatibility

Version 5 URLs will continue to function with a few limitations. Fields to be displayed in results are configured using the Website Configuration Tool, not passed in via queries. Hierarchical, Bibliography and Title views have been deprecated, given end-user feedback that Grid and Thumbnail views provided the information needed, with facets to aid in refining searches.

Reference URLs (Short URLs)

Every item in CONTENTdm has a persistent short URL called the Reference URL. The Reference URL is used as the item identifier in an OAI harvest and can be used as an external link back to the item.

You can view the RESTful URL for an item by clicking Reference URL when viewing an item in the CONTENTdm Website. The reference URL link can be pasted into citations and other references. The reference URL HTML can be used for embedding the link on websites.

For compound objects, you can choose whether you want the reference URL for the entire document (object reference URL) or the page reference URL for the specific page of the compound object that you are viewing.

Following is an example of two RESTful Reference URLs for the compound object with the URL http://your.website.address/compoundobject/collection/oclcsample/id/102/show/96, one for the object and one for the page.

  • Object Reference URL: http://your.website.address/cdm/ref/collection/oclcsample/id/102

  • Page Reference URL: http://your.website.address/cdm/ref/collection/oclcsample/id/96

Version 5 Reference URLs

The following documents the "ShortReference URL" form that was used in earlier versions of CONTENTdm. These short URLs still work with CONTENTdm 6.

A PHP script verifies the specified item and formulates the short persistent URL. The short, persistent URL is implemented as:


The collection alias uniquely identifies the collection. The pointer is an integer used to identify the item within a collection. The alias and pointer values appear in the viewer URLs as the values of the parameters CISOROOT and CISOPTR, respectively.

For example, the following item URL:


can be written as: