Friday, July 17, 2009

What if OpenURL resolvers could blog?

I thought about this when I was thinking about having support for unAPI, etc. I found Mike Giarlo's plugin for WordPress, which added this, and I could make it work for txtckr, but why should I?

I may have overlooked something, (since I don't use WordPress), but:
  • what if WordPress was the OpenURL resolver, (well, actually it wasn't but just looked like it)?
  • what if txtckr could redirect to the WordPress post which had the request response once it had made a post which contained all of that info?
The advantage of automatic posting the details and output of an OpenURL resolver, (and subsequent redirection), to a blog post is that it increases the discoverability of the item being requested.

There's also the tools available through something like the WordPress platform, which further promotes the re-distribution of information about articles, books, etc., including COinS, RSS feeds, OAI-PMH, unAPI, etc.

Of course there's also the ability for others to comment and refer, (trackback), on the item being represented in the blog post.


  1. "What is WordPress was the OpenURL resolver?"

    I've been pondering on what an OpenURL resolver actually is recently. It seems to me that the success of SFX has kind of defined this, but possibly not in an altogether useful way.

    It seems to me that the most important thing about OpenURL resolvers is that they provide a 'holdings engine' - by which I mean something that can answer questions like 'where can I get this particular copy of this particular journal'. They tend to focus on electronic full text, although there is nothing inherent in them that restricts them to dealing with this - and indeed most offer at least a few other services like 'request via ILL'.

    Although OpenURL is used generally to supply the bibliographic data to go with the 'question', this is not always true, and certainly not necessary. SFX at least can talk z39.50 as well as z39.88-2004.

    I'm tending towards the idea that actually we should start to break down what we clump together as 'OpenURL Resolvers' into component parts - this might encourage (for example) the population of print holdings as well as electronic holdings into a 'holdings engine' service?

    Coming back to your post, it would be interesting to see what role 'off the shelf' components like WordPress fill in a 'decoupled' resolver. The problem I can see with the idea you describe of publishing the result of a resolution is that a resolution doesn't have a fixed result - it can depend on at least who you are, where you are and when you make the request (the first two may depend on the sophistication of the resolver and the information available to it about context, but the latter is true as holdings change over time).

    Also, if you wanted to publish the results of a resolution (and it's something I've been wondering about - should a particular resolution have a unique URL you can refer back to?) you could also consider publishing it in a more neutral format - e.g. RSS - which WordPress can consume and republish if you want.

    I think this is a very interesting time to be looking at rethinking an OpenURL resolver - sorry to ramble on in this comment - I'll try to find the time to blog something a bit more coherent in my own space!

  2. Owen, you're thinking along the lines of Jonathan Rochkind here, and it's a fairly easy line of thought to go with, especially if you look at the OpenURL resolver as being a "service provider".

    I've also thought along these lines, and if fact think that there should be more integration between traditional library systems and OpenURL resolvers... more about this later, (probably in another post). I've already covered some of these thoughts as comments here: