I disagree.   Putting URIs that unamiguously identify the referent, and 
in some cases provide additional 'hooks' by virtue of additional 
identifiers (local bibID, OCLCnum, LCCN, etc) is a VERY useful thing to 
do to me.  Whether or not they resolve to an end-user appropriate web 
page or not.

If you want to use rft_id to instead be an end-user appropriate access 
URL (which may or may not be a suitable unambiguous persistent 
identifier), I guess it depends on how many of the actually existing 
in-the-wild link resolvers will, in what contexts, treat an http URI as 
an end-user appropriate access URL. If a lot of the in-the-wild link 
resolvers will, that may be a practically useful thing to do. Thus me 
asking if the one you had knowledge of did or didn't.

I'm 99% sure that SFX will not, in any context, treat an rft_id as an 
appropriate end-user access URL.

Certainly providing an appropriate end-user access URL _is_ a useful 
thing to do. So is providing an unambiguous persistent identifier. Both 
are quite useful things to do, they're just different things, shame that 
OpenURL kinda implies that you can use the same data element for both.  
OpenURL's not alone there though, DC does the same thing.


Eric Hellman wrote:
>   If you have a URL that can be used for a resource that you are  
> describing in metadata, resolvers can do a better job providing  
> services to users if it is put in the openurl. The only place to put  
> it is rft_id. So let's not let one resolver's incapacity to prevent  
> other resolvers from providing better services.
> If you want to make an OpenURL for a web page, its url is in almost  
> all cases the best unambiguous identifier you could possibly think of.
> Putting dead http uri's in rft_id is not really a very useful thing to  
> do.
> On Sep 14, 2009, at 1:45 PM, Jonathan Rochkind wrote:
>> Eric Hellman wrote:
>>> identifies a catalog record-  
>>> I  mean what else would you use to id the catalog record. unless  
>>> you've  implemented the http-range 303 redirect recommendation in  
>>> your catalog  (, it shouldn't be  
>>> construed as  identifying the thing it describes, except as a  
>>> private id, and you  should use another field for that.
>> Of course. But how is a link resolver supposed to know that, when  
>> all it has is rft_id=  ??
>> I suggest that this is a kind of ambiguity in OpenURL, that many of  
>> us are using rft_id to, in some contexts,  simply provide an  
>> unambiguous identifier, and in other cases, provide an end-user  
>> access URL  (which may not be a good unambiguous identifier at  
>> all!).   With no way for the link resolver to tell which was intended.
>> So I don't think it's a good idea to do this.  I think the community  
>> should choose one, and based on the language of the OpenURL spec,  
>> rft_id is meant to be an unambiguous identifier, not an end-user  
>> access URL.
>> So ideally another way would be provided to send something intended  
>> as an end-user access URL in an OpenURL.
>> But OpenURL is pretty much a dead spec that is never going to be  
>> developed further in any practical way. So, really, I recommend  
>> avoiding OpenURL for some non-library standard web standards  
>> whenever you can. But sometimes you can't, and OpenURL really is the  
>> best tool for the job. I use it all the time. And it constantly  
>> frustrates me with it's lack of flexibility and clarity, leading to  
>> people using it in ambiguous ways.
>> Jonathan
> Eric Hellman
> President, Gluejar, Inc.
> 41 Watchung Plaza, #132
> Montclair, NJ 07042
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