Information Today
Volume 19, Issue 6 — June 2002
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RLG Reports OpenURL Link Creation Is Now in Eureka Interface

Research Libraries Group (RLG) has announced that full support for OpenURL dynamic link creation is now in the newest version of Eureka, the Web search interface to many of RLG's databases. Libraries and information centers with their own OpenURL resolvers can turn RLG's millions of records for articles, books, and materials of all kinds into immediate links to the resources and services that they offer their users.

An institution's resources may include online full-text article collections from a variety of suppliers, its online catalog to local holdings or a larger regional resource, a connection to an ILL request mechanism or online bookseller, and more. With OpenURL setup, RLG databases become powerful finding tools for institutional offerings, presenting users with an integrated set of information choices one click beyond their Eureka search results, according to the announcement.

OpenURL defines a syntax to package metadata and identifiers that describe information objects and to point to a specific institution's link-resolution server or resolver. The resolver can accept this packaged data, combine it with institutional information, and turn it into actual links. OpenURL is context-sensitive, which enables links to be based on what's available at each institution that uses it. Having started as a single-vendor proprietary service, it became a multiple-vendor NISO draft standard early this year.

"With OpenURL, RLG can really add value to the selection policies and priorities of our users," said Walt Crawford, senior Eureka analyst at RLG. "Libraries can subscribe to RLG's bibliographic databases that suit their collections and use OpenURL to link from the RLG databases to multiple full-text sources, print, and other materials. Eureka now enables librarians and their users to find virtually everything the library can provide, both online and on the shelf."

"OpenURL offers users a wonderful new kind of service," said Kimberly Parker, electronic publishing and collections librarian at Yale University. "The great value to us in having this mechanism in place with RLG is that RLG databases are particularly strong in covering the humanities. We have lots of humanities materials for Eureka to link to."

The June 2002 issue of the RLG Focus newsletter will include articles by Crawford, Parker, and others about OpenURL and how it can be used. Another contributor is James Mouw, who as electronic resources officer at the University of Chicago was an early adopter of OpenURL.

Mouw said: "We were especially pleased to be able to work with RLG staff as they tested the Eureka implementation of the OpenURL. It was clear from the beginning that RLG had an excellent grasp on the OpenURL structure and was well-equipped to provide us with a solid implementation in Eureka."

The Eureka interface with OpenURL currently operates with the two largest collections of RLG bibliographic databases: RLG Citation Resources and RLG Library Resources. (Anyone can try out Eureka on a sample database at

When an OpenURL institution's users search RLG Citation Resources, Eureka will point them to full-text articles and chapters in journals, proceedings, and other collective publications held locally. The RLG Citation databases cover current events, the humanities (mostly art), social sciences (anthropology and law in particular), and science history.

When users search RLG Library Resources, Eureka can point them to an array of materials held locally, including books, manuscripts, maps, and recordings—materials in all the formats held in research collections. Because the international RLG Union Catalog also has a gateway to national catalogs in the U.K., Germany, and Australia, this database gives the institution an unmatched tool for helping users find the material they need, according to the announcement.

Source: Research Libraries Group, Mountain View, CA, 650/691-2333;

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