Open Thinkering


Tag: Jon Udell

Why you should create canonical URLs

Last night, while I was accompanying my son on the course for one of his weekly golf lessons, Ian O’Byrne asked:

I suppose the closest I’ve got to that is Working openly on the web: a manifesto, which was based on Jon Udell’s Seven ways to think like the web. There’s three points on the manifesto, with part of the second point reading:

Unless it contains sensitive information, publish your work to a public URL that can be referenced by others. This allows ideas to build upon one another in a ‘slow hunch’ fashion. Likewise, with documents and other digital artefacts, publish and then share rather than deal with version control issues by sending the document itself.

My point about having a ‘canonical’ URL is that you need somewhere that people can use a starting point for a breadcrumb trail.

We live (largely) in a post-social bookmarking world. That means people are unlikely to have carefully curated links to which they return. They’re probably going to have to use the auto-complete function of their browser’s address bar or their favourite search engine to rediscover what they’re looking for. If this fails, they need a trusted place that they can use a starting point to find that nugget of value.

The easiest way to create a canonical URLs as an individual is to have a profile page – mine is at But equally, you should have one for each project you run, each product you sell, each class you teach, and so on. It will make your life easier. Trust me.