Speaker: Herbert Van de Sompel
Affiliation: Ghent University, Belgium
Date: 2/22/01
Time and Location: 4:15 PM, B11 Kimball Hall
Title: The OpenURL Framework for the Context-sensitive Provision of Service Links

An acceptable framework for reference linking in the web-based scholarly information environment must take into account the context of the user in the provision of the reference links. For instance, a link from a reference to a scholarly paper must lead to an appropriate copy of the paper, that is to the copy that is accessible in the institutional context of the user. But the problem extends well beyond links to full-text, reaching into the general area of the provision of a wide variety of service-links for scholarly objects discovered in Web resources. The linking frameworks that have been established in the scholarly information industry fail to take into account such context-related aspects. Therefore, they have been referred to as closed or non-context-sensitive linking frameworks.The OpenURL framework has been introduced as a solution to allow for open or context-sensitive linking. In this framework, reference links can be provided by third-party service components that act as overlays to existing scholarly resources. In the framework, a user can choose the service component that he would like to receive his reference linking services from. Such a service component would typcially be administered by the user's institutional library. If it is adequately tailored, it can provide the user with context-sensitive services.The OpenURL framework builds on a low-barrier interoperability specification that defines an interface between scholarly information resources that want to allow for open linking and service components that aim at the delivery of context-senstive services. The OpenURL is currently the object of a fast-track standardization process of NISO. The acceptance of the OpenURL framework in the information industry is growing steadily. Although the framework originates in the scholarly environment, it can lead to insights regarding the alternative resolution of identifiers used in the general Internet infrastructure.