UK HEI “Page Not Found” Error Pages

In Back from Behind Enemy Lines, Without Being Autodiscovered(?!), I described a simple service that displays the autodiscoverable RSS feeds from UK HEI homepages (it went down over the weekend as the screenscraping broke, but it’s back now and some of the ‘issues’ with some of the linkscraping has been fixed ;-)

Over the weekend, I tweaked the code and created a parallel service that displays the ‘Page Not Found’ (HTML error code 404) splash page for UK HEIs using thumbnails generated using websnapr.

You can find the service here: UK HEI “Page Not Found” pages

The page takes in a list of UK HEI homepage URLs, generates a nonsense URL off each domain, and uses that nonexistent page URL as the basis for the thumbnail screenshot.

You’ll also notice I took the opportunity to do a little (unofficial) OU course advertising… At times like this, it would so handy for us to have a contextual course ad serving javascript snippet/widget…

PS Brian Kelly pinged me with a note that he’s had a UK HEI 404 viewer around for just about forever… University 404 pages rolling demo… Just by the by, the script that Brian used to scroll through the pages was the inspiration for the original “deliShow” version of feedshow (about feedshow).

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

4 thoughts on “UK HEI “Page Not Found” Error Pages”

  1. Are you taking bets on which HEI will be the first to create a page specifically to match your nonsense URL? (Or, if you’ve done it very cleverly, to do smart sniffing in their 404 code to spot it.) :-)

  2. I was going to generate on-the-fly random URLs, but that will just create redundant screenshots… I also considered creating offensive URLs…

    What would be the point of putting in a landing page to field the 404 screenshot generator anyway?

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