Presenter: Peter McCracken
Librarians understand what OpenURL is and what it does, but not all publishers understand it that well. One of the main problems with OpenURL is making sure that the links work and take users to the content, not to mention making sure that all the links are there which should be.
One thing that libraries often miss is that their link resolvers should include information about their print holdings as well as the electronic ones. [Side note: The non-portability of data from our ILS as noted by Breeding earlier today is part of why that is the case — it’s often more work than we have time for to accurately pull our print holdings data into our link resolvers.]
In order to make the OpenURL process work, content providers need to do most of the work, which includes generating the correct links from sources and sharing the correct information about targets. The library’s responsibility is to ensure that the coverage and content in the knowledge base reflects the license agreement.
The core of the problems we face is metadata. Data provided by publishers, libraries, and vendors all can potentially be broken or incorrect. In a perfect world, all of the metadata would be perfect, but it’s not.
Glen Wiley & the folks at Cornell are doing something about fixing OpenURL syntax errors. Part of the problem with these errors comes from publishers not knowing or understanding what users will be doing with OpenURLs. And, there is often no way to provide feedback to publishers.
Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) is a UKSG and NISO collaborative project working to provide better data for everyone as well as ensuring the timely transfer of accurate data to ERMS and link resolvers. The core working group meets monthly and includes link resolver/ERMS suppliers, publishers, subscription agents, aggregators, libraries, and consortia. Several groups, including NASIG, are monitoring the process.
KBart seeks to provide best practice guidelines, educational opportunities, and the creation of an information hub for all players. The group has looked at the problems facing the supply chain, developed an initial list of terms that need to be clarified and defined, and started to build a report based around the problems and a supply chain flowchart. They’ve now broken into subgroups to address specific parts and the most relevant bits for each group.
The plan is to finish by this time next year and will present at UKSG, and hopefully NASIG as well. They might go on to create a standard, but will need to determine if it’s appropriate at that time.
Phase II will be focusing on non-textual content. Digital collection managers rejoice!
OpenURL syntax errors potentially can be easily fixed across the board, but a greater challenge is to evaluate and improve the accuracy of the data.