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  Update: The CritSuite Toolset Project has been completed. This page is now part of an archive of CritSuite web pages. The domain no longer belongs to this project or to Foresight Institute. For current information on CritSuite, please see the site maintained by the author of the software, Ka-Ping Yee:
  Enhancing the World Wide Web: Social Software for the Evolution of Knowledge  

Backlinks to Any Web Page!

by Ted Kaehler

1. You must be using Netscape 2.0.x. If you have upgraded to Netscape 3.0.x, this page will not work.

A fix for this problem was discovered by Ka-Ping Yee

I did a little investigating of why this doesn't normally work in Netscape 3.0. As it turns out, Netscape prevents the script from constructing the AltaVista query because the URL string is "tainted".

I looked at the Netscape documentation and discovered that the user can enable the "tainting" feature so that Netscape asks for confirmation rather than flat out aborting the script.

On Macintosh, you need to use the "ResEdit" utility to edit the resources in the Netscape application. Find the resource with type "Envi" and number 128 in the Netscape application and remove the two ASCII slashes "//" before the "NS_ENABLE_TAINT" text at the end of the resource.

In Windows 3.1 or 95, you need to


In Windows NT, you need to open the System Properties window from the Control Panel, choose Environment, and add a variable named "NS_ENABLE_TAINT" with value 1.

In Unix, you need to

    setenv NS_ENABLE_TAINT 1

before running Netscape.

With these settings, Ted's backlinks script *WILL* work in Netscape 3.x. I have tested this in Unix and with Windows NT.

--Ka-Ping Yee, June 15, 1997

2. Click here to make a new window.

3. Browse the web in the new window. (Keep this window open.)

4. Click this button at any time. It will show you all the pages on the web that have links to the page in the other window.


  • Your browser must be Netscape Navigator 2.0.x for this to work (it uses JavaScript). Netscape 3.0 has outlawed the trick that makes this work.

    See above fix

  • Do not resize this window or do anything that causes it to reload. If you do accidentally reload it, you will later get the error 'other is not defined'. Simply close your other window, and click 'New Window' again.
  • The search covers the 30 million pages known to Alta Vista.
  • This currently doesn't work with Netscape running on Unix systems.
  • For more on why backlinks are important, see the Foresight Web Enhancement Project, and Robin Hanson's FindCritics page.
  • Robin Hanson simplified this page.

V.1.3.1 15 June 1996. Revised June 18, 1997.
For updates, see the Backlinks Page at the Foresight Institute.


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