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Knowledge Base and Link Resolver Study: General Findings

The National Library of Sweden

The LIBRIS division of the National Library of Sweden has published on their Web site a report they commissioned me to produce on e-resource knowledge bases and OpenURL link resolvers. One thread of work in support of this study involved gathering data from each of the major providers of knowledge base and link resolver products. In order to gauge the effectiveness of the products, a survey was developed and executed to capture responses from libraries regarding their impressions of their current and previous link resolvers, their assessment of the completeness and quality of the associated knowledge base, and requesting narrative comments in each topic area.

This report summarizes research conducted on OpenURL Link Resolvers and their associated Knowledge Bases. It includes information collected from the providers of these products as well as data provided by the libraries that use them regarding their experiences of their quality and effectiveness. The study focuses primarily on the knowledge bases, though it also examines the functionality offered in the link resolvers. In addition to the these characterizations of the products, the report also provides observations regarding the role that these products play in the broader landscape of library automation and some of the trends currently in motion.

This 103 report provides background and perspective on the genre of OpenURL Link Resolvers and their associated knowledge bases, includes detailed information provided by each of the producers of the major products, statistical summaries of the library survey responses as well as survey comments.

Download the Report

About OpenURL Link Resolvers

An information ecosystem based on OpenURL has emerged to manage linking in a scalable and efficient manner. In this ecosystem, sources present links from citations formulated as an OpenURL, following a standardized structure that presents metadata or identifiers describing the resource instead of a hardcoded link. The OpenURL includes the Base URL that references the link resolver provided by the user's library. The link resolver then interprets the OpenURL and calculates the best link to connect the user with the full text of article, or presents other relevant services if the full text is not available. Link resolvers rely on a knowledge base that describes the universe of available content resources, scoped to the resources made available by their library. The library would configure their instance of the link resolver to identify the content packages, e-journals, or other materials to which it subscribes as well as selected free and open access resources. This environment of context-sensitive linking based on OpenURL-based link resolvers and knowledge bases was initially proposed by Herbert Van de Somple and Patrick Hochstenbach at the University of Ghent in Belgium in 1999 in a project called SFX, which was licensed and commercialized by Ex Libris in February 2000, and has sparked the slate of competing products that this report describes.

Knowledge Base characteristics

The knowledge bases covered in this report house data related to body of electronic resources of interest to libraries. This body of content includes articles from e-journals, e-books, book chapters, and other materials acquired through a variety of different content products ranging from individual ejournal subscriptions to massive multi-disciplinary aggregated databases. Rather than each library taking on the laborious process of maintaining detailed information regarding the variable lists of materials that reside within each of their subscription packages, they can rely on knowledge bases maintained on behalf of a broader library community. An organization that produces one of these knowledge bases would bring to bear more technical and personnel resources than might be available in any individual organization.

An article summarizing the report will be published in the July issue of Insights: the UKSG journal

Jun 8, 2012 08:13:06

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