C5.27 Pilot website for OpenURL service available

ViTaL, the Virtual Taxonomic Library is a component of the EDIT infrastructure, being created as part of WP5.3, which is
concerned with the provision of Bibliographic tools for the taxonomic community. The services provided by ViTaL have been discussed in detail in previously published project documents. The diagram (see attached pdf) has been extracted from document D5.15 ViTaL draft system design. It provides a useful overview of the system architecture. This report documents the pilot launch of the OpenURL resolution service component of ViTaL, hosted at the Natural HistoryMuseum (London). The pilot went live on 26 September 2008.


The ViTaL OpenURL service is based on SFX, an Ex Libris product. SFX provides ViTaL users with links to article full-text where this is available for free download or via subscriptions belonging to their institution. It also offers other library-defined resources, including the online public access catalogue (OPAC) holdings and Google Scholar searches.


The pilot is running on the NHML’s test SFX server. Queries are sent to the server via an HTTP GET sent to http://vital.nhm.ac.uk:3210/sfxtst3with OpenURL parameters appended as a query string. Once the pilot is completed, a new URL will be released for normal use. An example query to SFX might look like this:

When send the above data, SFX identifies the journal, checks its database for possible sources of full text for the article. In this case, the journal, Psyche, provides free access to its archive. SFX returns a web page with a button which opens the appropriate page on the Psychewebsite, displaying the full text of the article and a link to a PDF. The SFX results page also provides other options, allowing users to order hard-copies or search Google Scholar, without having to re-enter the details of the item.

OpenURL queries can be accepted from any application. For example, the ViTaL bibliographic search tool has OpenURL links pointing to this service. 

Browser based tools such as Zotero can also use this server to provide their default OpenURL resolution service.