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Many of the problems with OpenURL technology stem from a lack of awareness of the technology, how it is used, and how it can benefit everyone in the supply chain. The NISO/UKSG KBART Working Group intends to help raise awareness and encourage participation by using various channels, including this Recommended Practice, a webbased information hub, PR, and training.

6.1 Web Hub

This KBART web hub (mirrored at provides an authoritative starting point for those who need to learn about the OpenURL supply chain. KBART's work is particularly focused on those organizations and individuals with a limited understanding of the OpenURL supply chain, so materials produced in support of its education mandate assume existing knowledge and experience are minimal.

  • 6.1.1 Best Practice Guidelines
    A summary of the metadata structure and exchange guidelines given in this Recommended Practice.
  • 6.1.2 FAQ
    A set of frequently answered questions to help address common queries.
  • 6.1.3 Glossary
    Definitions of core terms, as provided at the end of the Recommended Practice.

6.2 Outreach

To raise awareness of KBART’s outcomes and output, PR activities have been, and will continue to be, undertaken. Those include press announcements, publishing articles, speaking engagements, and participating in training seminars/webinars. Where possible, we will leverage the existing reach of organizations such as ALPSP, ER&L, LITA, ACRL, ALA, NASIG, NFAIS, NISO, OASPA, PSP, PA, STM, UKSG, VALA, and others.

6.4 Guidelines on Improved Linking

One problem facing some linking usage is badly formatted and poorly implemented link resolving. OpenURLs that are improperly formatted will invariably lead to a failure to successfully resolve to an appropriate location. Link resolvers generally transfer the information they receive with minimal checking of the metadata they are given from the source. For instance, the link resolver may check to ensure that the ISSN is properly formed (though not necessarily check to ensure that it is the correct ISSN for the citation given), and then delete it if the check digit fails. Another example might be that the resolver may take the provided title and then return a more accurate or more standardized version of the title.

But if the source link provider has created an OpenURL in which the enumeration data (e.g., “volume,” “issue,” “number,” etc.) is in the place of the chronology data (e.g., day, month, year, etc.), and vice versa, the resolver will not reverse and correct that information. Therefore, it is vital that the organization creating the source OpenURL link do so accurately and correctly. A number of resources exist online to help such organizations create these links. Examples include:

In addition, a project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based at Cornell University is exploring the possibility of a system that will analyze and report on a large number of source OpenURLs in order to identify structural errors and assist source OpenURL generators in correcting these problems. Adam Chandler and David Ruddy of the Cornell University Library are currently engaged in a Mellon Planning Grant project with Eric Rebillard, Professor of Classics at Cornell. Professor Rebillard is editor of L’Année philologique, a citation database. Since 2004, the electronic version of L’Année philologique (called APh Online) has been OpenURL compliant. Each record contains a link that can be processed by a link resolver, but many OpenURL links fail. Adam Chandler developed initial recommendations for metadata improvement based on a manual review of a sample set of 126 OpenURLs generated by L’Annee. His report, “Results of L’Année philologique online OpenURL Quality Investigation,” identified many typical metadata problems that cause OpenURLs to fail: malformed dates, volume and issue numbers combined into one field, start page fields with entire page ranges, lack of identifiers, etc. Such a report is extremely useful to L’Annee because it precisely identifies the critical failure points where improvement efforts can most profitably be focused. However, performing such a manual review of all the OpenURLs generated by L’Annee, or any other vendor, would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming. Chandler and Ruddy proposed exploring the feasibility of developing a fully automated OpenURL evaluation process. Such a system would accept OpenURLs and return scores based on a set of evaluation metrics. These scores would allow resource providers to see precisely where their OpenURLs were weakest, letting them target metadata improvement efforts in the most cost-effective manner. They ultimately envision a community recognized index for measuring the quality of OpenURL links from content providers. In December 2009, NISO approved a two-year project to focus on the testing and validating of the metrics used to determine OpenURL quality, to be chaired by Chandler (see for more information).