The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the
publication of a new recommended practice, Improving OpenURLs Through
Analytics (IOTA): Recommendations for Link Resolver Providers (NISO
RP-21-2013). These recommendations are the result of a three-year study
performed by the NISO IOTA Working Group in which millions of OpenURLs were
analyzed and a Completeness Index was developed as a means of quantifying
OpenURL quality. By applying this Completeness Index to their OpenURL data
and following the recommendations, providers of link resolvers can monitor
the quality of their OpenURLs and work with content providers to improve the
provided metadata-ultimately resulting in a higher success rate for end
users. The project is summarized in a technical report, IOTA Working Group
Summary of Activities and Outcomes (NISO TR-05-2013), which was published
along with the recommended practice.

"OpenURLs are context-sensitive URLs widely used by publishers and libraries
to allow end users to connect to the full-text of e-resources discovered
during a search," explains Aron Wolf, Data Program Analyst with Serials
Solutions and member of the IOTA Working Group. "To ensure that the user
accesses the most appropriate copy of a resource (one that is preferably
free to the user due to a subscription through the user's library), the
OpenURL link connects to a link resolver knowledgebase. The metadata
embedded within the OpenURL is compared through the link resolver with what
is held in or licensed through the library and the end user is then
presented with the available full-text access options. At a typical academic
library, thousands of OpenURL requests are initiated by patrons each week.
The problem is that too often these links do not work as expected because
the metadata in the OpenURL is incorrect or incomplete, leaving users unable
to access the resources they need."

"Through our analysis, the IOTA Working Group found that there was a pattern
to the failures in OpenURLs," states Adam Chandler, Electronic Resources
User Experience Librarian at Cornell University Library and Chair of the
IOTA Working Group. "The Completeness Index was developed as a method of
predicting the success of OpenURLs from a given provider by examining the
data elements that provider includes in the OpenURLs from its site. This
metric can serve as a tool to help determine which content providers are
more likely to cause linking problems due to missing data elements in their
OpenURLs and can identify exactly what the problems are. The Recommended
Practice explains how to implement the measures so that problems can be
clearly identified and steps taken with the content providers to improve the
quality of the metadata."

"The IOTA Recommended Practice is a perfect complement to the NISO/UKSG
KBART Recommended Practice (NISO RP-9-2010)," states Todd Carpenter, NISO's
Executive Director. "While KBART recommends how to improve the data within
the link resolver knowledgebase, IOTA is focused on the metadata passed in
the OpenURL itself. Together, these recommendations can ensure that OpenURLs
will consistently provide the results that libraries, publishers, and end
users have come to expect from this technology."

The IOTA Recommended Practice and Technical Report are both available for
free download from the IOTA Working Group's page on the NISO website at:


For more information, contact:

Nettie Lagace
NISO Associate Director for Programs
National Information Standards Organization
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