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The Open URL

The Open URL

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The Open URL

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  1. The Open URL By Melodie Hamilton, Connecticut College

  2. The OpenURL • What are OpenURLs? • How do they work exactly? • What is SFX? • What’s so “special” about SFX, and how easy is it to maintain?

  3. History of the OpenURL & SFX • Initial concept developed at the University of Ghent by Herbert Van de Sompel (now at the British Library) • His product, now known as SFX, was acquired by ExLibris in 2000, and has been sold to nearly 200 customers in some 20 countries

  4. Responding to user needs • Users want seamless access to e-journals • Students feel frustrated with too many steps trying to use library resources • With vast amounts of information now available, expectations are high: students want it any time, anywhere • Speed is the key today: fast computers, fast connections, and fast delivery of resources

  5. Static URLs • Static URLs are location dependent: link refers to a single copy of a resource at one location • Static URLs cannot take into consideration the user’s affiliation with the library • Static URLs must be verified periodically

  6. The OpenURL • The nature of the OpenURL is tied directly to the article and not a specific location • Resolution service (SFX) resolves the OpenURL to a copy or a set of services appropriate for that user: SFX can also retrieve multiple versions of a full-text article regardless of where it is located

  7. The OpenURL • Provides context-sensitive linking • Combines full-text and extended services with user authentification • The OpenURL contains elements that identify the user and information about the desired article

  8. SFX Considerations • Publishers and aggregators must use OpenURLs rather than traditional URLs in order for SFX to work • Librarians determine what services the library will offer: what options a search in a database will provide • In addition to full-text, librarians define what extended services will be offered, including links to the OPAC, abstracts, ILL services, and search engines

  9. More SFX Considerations • Be aware that each vender presents SFX differently; this can be challenging to the user • Not all products can be linked to SFX; users must be made aware which products are SFX-enabled

  10. Sources • Collins, Maria D. D., and Christine L. Ferguson. “Context-Sensitive Linking: It’s a Small World After All.” Serials Review 28:4 (2002) : 267-282. • Gerrity, Bob, Lyman, Theresa, and Ed Tallent. “Blurring Services and Resources: Boston College’s implementation of MetaLib and SFX.” Reference Services Review 30:3 (2002) : 229-241. • Needleman, Mark. “The OpenURL: an Emerging Standard for Linking.” Serials Review 28:1 (2002) : 74-76. • Schneider, Karen G. “SFX: a Linkalicious Service.” American Libraries June/July 2001 : 118.