A go link is a context-specific abbreviated URL, that lets you use a short, human-readable name to remember and get to a URL. This is a subclass of url shortening within a context (usually links of interest to a person or organization), which often provides a much larger volume of short urls with less context and readability. This is often implemented with wikimarkup online.

Starting in 2003, editable shortcuts became popular on Wikipedia as ways to quickly link to a commonly referenced page. Starting in 2008/9 at NCSU,[1][2] these became widely used at universities both as URL shorteners on the web and for URL rewriting within campus tools. The idea also became beloved within Google and Yahoo ("yo links") in the early 2010s, and other organizations began to develop intranet-specific implementations.

In 2017, kellegous's go library became popular on github and widely remixed. Confusingly, in 2019 a company named 'Golinks' was founded dedicated to providing this as a service; but it is a simple web pattern and most instances of the idea on the web predate this.

Wikimedia uses edit

On Wikimedia wikis, this pattern is often limited to pages outside the main namespace, with the namespace included in the abbreviated link. Meta is an exception, with abbreviations such as [[S]] (stewards) and [[GIPBE]] (global IP block exemptions). More common are links with a namespace, such as [[WM:HELP]].

MediaWiki supports interwiki and interlanguage links, which allows for abbreviated links across wikis in a similar format, with fixed abbreviations for project and language-code. E.g. [[w:WP:THIS]], [[w:en:P:SCUBA]], [[w:H:ALL]], &c.

Examples edit

  • Universities: NCSU, Brown, George Mason, Kansas U, Lehigh, Middlebury, Ohio State, UVMt, Wakeforest, ...
  • Intranet go-links at companies influencing other web orgs: Google, Yahoo, Twitter, FB, Etsy, Netflix, Linkedin, Stripe, Paypal, Mixpanel
  • Service providers hosting go links: url shorteners added this as a white-label service (bit.ly &c, 2011+), trot.to (2018), gl.io (2019), oslash (2021)
  • Wikis: MediaWiki redirects + namespaces, Wikipedia shortcuts (across namespaces w/ WP: and WT: prefixes), fedstoa

Wikilinks edit

A global version of this is the "wikilinks everywhere" repo, a federated concept where a wide range of clients interpret links -- or any marked up syntax suggesting a link by surrounding it in [[double brackets]] -- as potential go-links, and check a cascading list of namespaces for a match.

References edit

  1. "https://twitter.com/usaussie/status/5867251013". Twitter. Retrieved 2023-05-24. 
  2. Young, Nick. "Project: Go Links for NC State – Design & Web Services" (in en-US). Retrieved 2023-05-24.