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Frequently Asked Questions


What is an OpenURL and how does it work?


What is an OpenURL:

  • A URL that contains descriptive metadata about a particular item such as an article, journal, or book.
  • A standard that describes information and allows the user to link to that content or related service through an Open URL resolver like Find It (SFX). More information about the standard.

Example of an OpenURL:

How does OpenURL work:

  • OpenURL works by linking a user from a source through a link resolver to a target.
  • A source is the user’s starting point, for example, an Abstract and Index database.
  • The link resolver is a piece of software that sits between the source and the target. The link resolver is able to accept an OpenURL from a source, decode the OpenURL, and route the user to the most appropriate target for the user.
  • A target is where a user ends up. For example, a target could be the full-text article within an online database, the library catalog entry for the item, or an ILL form.

Example of the process:

  1. Library user searches and discovers an article citation in an A&I database. No full text of the article is available from the database.
  2. User selects the Find It @ GALILEO button.
  3. The A&I database sends an OpenURL to the link resolver.
  4. The link resolver searches its database that contains information about the library holdings and subscriptions.
  5. The link resolver presents a services menu to the user that contains a link to the full-text article from an online database.
  6. User selects the link to the online database and is taken to the PDF of the article within the database.

Other questions in this category: Find It,

Keywords: Open URL, SFX, Find It, Link Resolver

Last Updated: Fri, January 15, 2010 - 5:25:30