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Canned search links

Stable URL's linking to searches or results

Deep Link Update 2016-02-09

How to Translate "Search URLs" into Primo "Deep Links" for new Alma DiscoverE

"Search URLs" were developed as a simpler syntax that got translated into Deep Links behind the scenes, but that methodology no longer works in the new Primo/Alma discoverE. Primo Deep Links are not that complicated once you get to know them, and allow more sophisticated linking as well. These 3 steps contain instructions and examples you can copy to construct Deep Links from the parameters contained in the search URLs.

Example search URL: (agricultur* OR soil OR farm* OR pesticide* OR transgenic OR genetic* OR slow food movement)

Breakdown of changes:

1. Base URL plus additional parameters that are mostly static: (agricultur* OR soil OR farm* OR pesticide* OR transgenic OR genetic* OR slow food movement)

change to:


  • The vid (View ID) can be changed (for example, to business if the Business view is desired).
  • &tab=catalog will perform the search in the Catalog tab. If you want the search to happen in the Combined tab (including Primo Central), use default_tab.
  • NOTE: The developers' instructions on deep linking say that a "scope" is required, but we haven't found this to be the case. Selection of a tab will automatically select the tab's scopes.

2. Resource Type facet:

You need this section only if your search URL's second section has the index followed by a hyphen and a resource type term (or exact- and then a resource type term). Otherwise, you can skip to section 3.

Here are two methods of expressing the resource type from an old "search URL" in a Deep Link URL:

Method #1 is simpler and follows the Brief Search API instructions on the Ex Libris developer site. Its disadvantage is that it doesn't show the resource type facet selection in the search results page, and thus gives a user no way to delete that selection or add more resource types to the selection. If this doesn't bother you, go ahead and use it.

Method #2 is a bit more complex, but results are closer to what a user would get if they had done the search. It uses an older syntax for links that's similar to what appears in URLs generated by Primo from a search. Its advantage is, the resource type selection will show up in the search results. This is the method used in the redirect program that generated Deep Links from your search URLs in "Old Primo".

If you decide to use the second method for translating your search URL, you need to put the facet fields before the search section, so that the fn=search at the end comes before the index query. (If you use Method #1, the order of the queries doesn't matter.)

If you want to expand and use multiple facet terms with the second method, check with Systems (there was discussion on the Primo list about this). It's more complicated, but is probably still is do-able. Multiple facet terms should be no problem when using Method #1&emdash;just add another query.

Method #1:

Example: (agricultur* OR soil OR farm* OR pesticide* OR transgenic OR genetic* OR slow food movement)

The Resource Type part after the dash becomes:


That's it.  All facet queries have precision exact.

Method #2:

The example above becomes:



Whichever method you use, you can just copy one of the patterns above, changing the resource type "value" to whatever you need, for example:


Most of the terms (codes) for Resource Types can be used unchanged from what appears in the old search URL.  Those which need to be changed are below.

Resource type terms that need to be changed for Deep Links:

use: all_text
use: government_documents
use: legal_documents
use: newspaper_articles
use: reference_entrys
use: scores
use: statistical_data_sets


3. Keyword search index and search:

The index type, together with the search string after the last slash, gets turned into a query in the Deep Link. In a query, the first query parameter is the index term (see list below).

After a comma comes the precision (contains or exact.) The old search URLs can be assumed to have contains precision unless the url includes exact - for example, after the first slash, you have /all-exact-articles (There's another precision type, startswith but it wasn't used in search URLs.)

After another comma comes the keyword search.  This is the entire section of the Search URL after the last forward slash /.

If this part contains spaces, you need to replace them with plus signs (+).

Examples: (agricultur* OR soil OR farm* OR pesticide* OR transgenic OR genetic* OR slow food movement)


&query=sub,contains,environmental (agricultur*+OR+soil+OR farm*+OR+pesticide*+OR+transgenic+OR+genetic*+OR+slow+food+movement)

Translate the index terms this way:

use: any
use: creator
use: sub

4. Conversion examples:

The complete Deep Link for our example search URL (sections detailed above are concatenated together in order with no spaces):

Method #1,exact,video&fn=search&query=sub,contains,
environmental+(agricultur*+OR+soil+OR+farm*+OR+pesticide*+OR+transgenic+OR+genetic*+OR+"slow food movement")

Method #2

Other examples (all using Method 2):

Old Search URL (no resource type):


NOTE: space was replaced by %20 in this search URL. Change %20 to +


New Deep Link:,contains,Animated+films


Old Search URL: (Environmental OR pollution OR water OR pesticides)

New Deep Link:,contains,


Old Search URL:

NOTE: space was replaced by %20 in this search URL. Change %20 to +


New Deep Link:,exact,l.a.


  • Check out your Deep Links in a browser to make sure they work, before publishing them!
  • If you want to have results sorted by other factors instead of relevance, you can add:
    srt=date (date newest)
  • Contact Library Core Systems if you run into any problems! CORESYSTEMSHELP@EMORY.EDU