How I can create a shareable link to a file in RecordSearch?

If you try to share or bookmark the url of an item in RecordSearch, you’ll often get a ‘Session time out’ error when you access it. That’s because the urls only work within the current active RecordSearch session. So how can you create a shareable link that works across sessions?

There’s no obvious way of doing this within the RecordSearch interface. However, if the item’s digitised and you have a Twitter account, you can go to the digital copy and click on the Twitter share button. The Twitter edit box opens with a shareable link.

But that only works with digitised items. What about undigitised files, series, or agencies? Fortunately, the basic format of shareable urls is simple. For example, this url opens an item with the barcode of 149309:


The Number parameter is the item barcode, while the O parameter says how you want the item to be displayed. Setting O=I opens the normal item view, but if it’s a photograph, you can set O=PSI to open it in PhotoSearch.

The same formula works for series and agency identifiers, except you don’t need the O parameter. So a shareable link to series A1 would be:


At this point you’re probably thinking there’s no way you’re going to remember all that next time you want to share a link from RecordSearch. And you’re right! That’s why I’ve created a simple app that generates shareable links for you:

If you’re a Zotero user, all you need to do to create shareable links is to save the item to Zotero. The RecordSearch translator will automatically create a persistent link and save it with the item metadata.

A further update – the digitised file viewer in RecordSearch doesn’t have the same session problems, so you can share a link to the digitised file without problems. For example this link:


But what if you want to share a link to a particular page of a digitised file? When you click on the Next button in the digitised file viewer you’ll notice that the url itself doesn’t change, so sharing the url will just take you to the front page. But you can add an extra S parameter to set the page number. For example, to go to page 3 of the file above:


Once again, if you use the Zotero translator for RecordSearch it will create this link automatically.

This is really helpful Tim! Just a note that it seems that the http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/AutoSearch.asp?O=I&Number=149309 formula doesn’t seem to work out of Excel. I get the time out error. But if I copy and post contents of the cell all good. Works ok in google sheets.

Do you mean that if that link’s in an Excel cell, when you click on it it doesn’t work? I just tried and it seems ok. But of course Excel does weird stuff, so it’s hard to tell.

Yes that’s right. It is strange because they worked a few months back in a different document but when I recreated what I was doing hit the problem and the old links not working either. I think it is a weird Excel thing. Final product will be in a different system so all good but I thought worth documenting in case anyone else came across it.