At Mon, 14 Sep 2009 14:48:23 +0100,
O.Stephens wrote:
> I'm working on a project called TELSTAR (based at the Open
> University in the UK) which is looking at the integration of
> resources into an online learning environment (see
> for the basic project details). The
> project focuses on the use of References/Citations as the way in
> which resources are integrated into the teaching
> material/environment.
> We are going to use OpenURL to provide links (where appropriate)
> from references to full text resources. Clearly for journals,
> articles, and a number of other formats this is a relatively well
> understood practice, and implementing this should be relatively
> straightforward.
> However, we also want to use OpenURL even where the reference is to
> a more straightforward web resource - e.g. a web page such as
> This is in order to ensure that links provided
> in the course material are persistent over time. A brief description
> of what we perceive to be the problem and the way we are tackling it
> is available on the project blog at
> (any comments welcome).
> What we are considering is the best way to represent a web page (or
> similar - pdf etc.) in an OpenURL. It looks like we could do
> something as simple as:
> http://resolver.address/?
> &url_ver=Z39.88-2004
> &url_ctx_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx
> &
> Is this sufficient (and correct)? Should we consider passing fuller
> metadata? If the latter should we use the existing KEV DC
> representation, or should we be looking at defining a new metadata
> format? Any help would be very welcome.

Here are some things that I would take into consideration, not related
to the technical OpenURL question, but I think relevant anyhow.

a) What will people do if the service that you provide goes away? A
good thing about the OpenURL that you have above is that even if your
resolver no longer works, a savvy user can see that the OpenURL is
supposed to point at A bad thing about the old
URL that you have on your blog:


is that when that URL stops working - & I will bet money it will stop
working before stops working - nobody will know what it

b) How can you ensure that your service will not go away? What is the
institutional commitment? If you can’t provide a stronger commitment
than, e.g.,, is this worth doing?

c) Who will maintain that database that redirects to (see second part of B above).

d) Is there a simpler solution to this problem than OpenURL?

e) Finally: how many problems will this solve? It seems to me that
this is only useful in the case of URL A1 moving to A2 (e.g.,
following an organization rename) where the organization does not
maintain a redirect. In other words, it is not particularly useful in
cases where URL A1 goes away completely (in which case there is no
unarchived URL to go to) and where a redirect is maintained from A1 to
A2 (in which case there is no need to maintain your own redirect). How
many instances of this are there? Maybe there are many;
is a bad example, but a journal article online might move around a

Hope that is useful! Thanks for reading.

Erik Hetzner