ServiceNow Knowledge: Check for Referring Links to Public Articles

Before retiring a public knowledge base article you need to check for other articles or web pages that link to avoid breaking them.

Checking referring links for Public articles

Articles may be linked from within or outside of our public website. They may also be linked to from internal knowledge base articles.

Take the following steps (in order) to look for article references:

Step 1: Finding links to an article in ServiceNow

You can easily generate a report of all articles linked to another article. The resulting report will include the Assignment Group of any linked articles which makes it easy to figure out who to notify about the pending change. You may find links to both public and internal articles. 

  1. Go to Template: KB Articles that Link to a Specific Public KB article (smg)
  2. Make a Copy of the Report for your own use (so the template remains intact for the next user.)
  3. Update the Content condition fields.
    1. Enter the KB article number
    2. Enter the SysID. To get the SysID 
      1. Scroll down to the Audit Records table beneath the content section to the Article Link.
      2. Copy the system ID which is everything after sys_kb_id=.
        Within the Article Link, the text after the equals sign is highlighted
    3. Enter the article URL.
    4. Leave the Workflow criteria as is: Workflow is not one of Draft or Retired.
      ServiceNow Report to filter for links to a specific KB article
  4. Run the report. A list of linked articles appears if there are any.
  5. If there are any articles: Notify the knowledge owner(s) of the pending change.
    1. Leave feedback on each article explaining that the article is slated for retirement and why.
    2. Follow-up with the appropriate Assignment Group process manager, Zone Lead, or T2 OIT Technology Training ([email protected]) to alert them to the unresolved feedback. For contact information:
      1. Go to Tier 2 Team and Zone ACD Phone Numbers.
      2. Click the first link for the Tier 2 Staff and Contact Info
  6. Continue with Step 2.

Step 2: Finding links to an article on our public site,

A public article may be linked to from other locations on the website:

  • Other public Knowledge Base Articles (which you will have discovered by searching ServiceNow)
  • Self-Help Guides (SHG) 
  • Other [email protected] site pages

You can generate a list of links to a public article on our public site ( by searching a Google DataStudio report.

  1. Copy the public article link from the [email protected] website.
    • For example,
  2. Go to (page name: Internal links - This table is updated approximately once per month. Search results may include references to Drupal pages where a link to the article has already been removed.
  3. Click the Destination drop-down menu. The menu expands revealing a search box and a list of links.
  4. Paste the URL into the type to search field. The list of URLs refreshes showing only the URL you entered in the search
  5. Mouse over the URL and click on the ONLY button that is revealed. The report runs and any results are returned. You may see links to Drupal pages or links to public ServiceNow articles.
     internal links - - datastudio report displaying expanded destination menu with search field populated with URL; ONLY button is highlighted; resulting report shows destination, source, status code, and status columns with search results

  6. Optional: Click the Source column heading to sort the list.
  7. Determine which links are not associated with ServiceNow articles
    • You have already determined all ServiceNow articles in step 1 so you only need to identify the links that are Drupal pages.
  8. Identify and notify stakeholders. If the article is linked to from:
  9. Continue with Step 3.

Step 3: Finding links to an article from sites external to

An article may also be linked to from other public locations, such as:

  • Other UMN pages, e.g., a college, departmental, or another system campus website
  • PDFs or non-web based documentation
  • Non-UMN pages

Note: You can search the web to find links to the article from external locations but the chances of useful results are rare. Do NOT spend a lot of time and effort attempting to find links external to our site.

  • If you find any links from external sites, then contact the appropriate Department, College, or unit. 

Final Validation