OpenURL Quality Problem and Project

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The development of the OpenURL standard in 2000 was a much-heralded milestone for enhancing access to full-text resources across discovery systems. OpenURL (ANSI/NISO Z39.88), a Web-based protocol for transmitting item-level metadata, was designed to enable seamless access from citations in databases (e.g., abstracting and indexing services) to the full text of journal articles or e-book chapters, without requiring users to execute a second search in another discovery platform. Metadata in the OpenURL standard is a critical element not only for identifying and retrieving the target object from its source(s), but also for constructing the 'link-to' syntax in the URL to the content provider's web site. Despite OpenURL being an international standard, its wide use and its potential, OpenURL in practice has yet to become a reliable mechanism for leading users to desired content. Inaccurate or incomplete metadata, along with other technical issues, can frustrate library users when links from citation databases to full-text fail. This presentation will reveal the various possibilities and results that can occur with an OpenURL, the reasons for an unsuccessful user result, and a presentation of this problem from Cornell University data logs. There will also be a discussion of a proposed Cornell-led OpenURL Quality Project to improve OpenURL metadata for better library service and an enhanced user experience. The anticipated results of the project is the design of a metadata quality ratings system for content providers that content providers will want to adapt for their practices with quality standards in order to provide more successful link resolutions to electronic library collections. Our users will find the relevant resources that they need. Library staff and vendors will spend less time finding and fixing errors that were the result of low quality metadata.


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Metadata quality; Metadata assessment; Library electronic resources; OpenURL


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