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Core problem:

Variant titles, particularly caused by misspellings, title variations, or the use of previous or subsequent titles, lead to matching problems.

User impact:

Most resolvers have a way to handle variations in capitalization and punctuation, but may not be able to resolve abbreviations (e.g., “NEJM” for the New England Journal of Medicine), regional variations in spelling (e.g., “labour” vs. “labor”), or numbers written out as words (e.g., “1st” vs. “first”). The link resolver may fail to find the correct title—or any title – when it is attempting to resolve an OpenURL query. The user will not reach the content he seeks.


Best practice is for all systems to use a form of the title that appears as a main title in a standard cataloging source, such as the CONSER record set, the OCLC WorldCat database, or the ISSN Registry. If no such resource contains a record for the title, then the title should be reproduced as it appears on the cover of the print edition. In addition, it is expected that knowledge bases are able to manage variant titles within their system.