A revolutionary thought has trickled down from my subconscious. A product of a variety of conversations, conference presentations, and blog commentaries, I suspect. Here it is: Stop using the 856 MARC field in print journal records to link to online volumes.
Whoa. Deep breath.
I know some libraries out there are already doing this, but until this moment, I was stuck on cataloging standards and a desire to eliminate the multiple records for multiple formats problem. However, I think we have gotten to a point where the link maintenance problem has trumped all others.
At my library, we get MARC records for all of our ejournals from a company that also provides article-level OpenURL linking. These records are updated about once a month, and it is a painless process to dump them into the catalog all at once. The new records supercede the old, and the whole process is transparent to our users. If we are paying for this service, why go through the trouble of putting in links on our print records and then manually updating them if and when we notice they have gone bad?