Popup blocking software, which prevents unsolicited popup windows from displaying, is proliferating.  Popup blocking software is becoming an almost standard feature of personal firewall software packages, like ZoneAlarm or Norton Internet Security; Internet Service Providers, like EarthLink; the latest versions of web browsers, such as Netscape 7.1…even the Google™ Toolbar (Version 2.0) includes popup blocking software.

Unfortunately, in addition to stopping unwanted popup advertisements, popup blocking software can block end users from some vital resources and services.  CDL tries to limit the use of popup windows in applications we develop, but sometimes they are useful and convenient for users.

Typically, the symptom is that the expected page does not appear or does not function as expected.  Popup blocking software can interfere with:

  • Request (UC’s interlibrary loan) service.
  • “Available Online“ links in the Melvyl Catalog which provide access to electronic resources.
  • Subject heading searches in the Melvyl Catalog which are “hot-linked” to launch a new search.
  • Feedback forms.
  • UC-eLinks (UC’s linking service from article databases to full text, holdings, or interlibrary loan).
  • Image services (AMICO, MOAC, and Saskia) available via the Luna / Insight® interface.Given the potential for impaired services and problems with resources when popup blocking software is enabled, it is important to understand how this software can be configured in order to restore the full functionality of these services and resources.

    CDL has had a recent rash of problems reported by end users using Netscape 7.1, which comes with popup blocking software enabled by default.  Users who have upgraded from an earlier version without popup blocking software may not realize that popup blocking has been turned on.

    To check the Popup setting in Netscape 7.1, select Edit> Preferences> Privacy & Security> Popup Windows. You can access this panel anytime through Preferences to enable or disable Popup blocking.  Also, the Allowed Sites button allows you to create a list of sites that are given permission to display unsolicited popups.  Be sure to add the Melvyl Catalog (http://melvyl.cdlib.org) and UC-eLinks (http://ucelinks.cdlib.org) to this list! Additionally, end users may need to add specific databases to their “allowed sites” list by following the instructions below.

    You can also add sites to this list without going through Preferences: While on a site where unsolicited popups are OK, select Tools> Popup Manager> Allow Popups From This Site.

    Although Internet Explorer 6.0 can be configured to prevent popup windows from displaying, this feature is not turned on by default.  Consult the instructions for this and other software, such as personal firewall software, for information on setting up allowed sites for popups.

    Remember: If your end users complain about any of the symptoms that resemble those caused by popup blocking software, such as the Request form not displaying after clicking the Request button, have them check to see if they have any popup blocking software enabled and take the steps above to add the web site to the list of sites for which it is acceptable to display popups.