OCLC Openly Informatics :OpenURL Referrer

OpenURL Referrer

Web browser extension for converting biblographic citations to URLs.


OpenURL Referrer is a browser extension that can take certain kinds of citations on the web and convert them to direct links to one of your local library's databases. This can be accomplished thanks to OpenURL, a powerful technology that packages bibliographic information into a format that many internet services can understand. OpenURL Referrer can produce links for three different kinds of citations:

Google Scholar Results

Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com), launched in November 2004, is a search engine designed to help users locate books, articles, and citations using the traditional Google Search interface.

For each article on the Google Scholar results page, OpenURL Referrer will create a link to your local library's database, as shown in the picture below. (The "Find in a Library" buttons are the links produced by OpenURL Referrer.) If your library has access to the article, the link will bring you to a page from which you can access the article. These links are similar to the "Institutional Access" links created by Google. However, OpenURL Referrer can produce links for any library that supports OpenURL, not just the ones that have registered with Google.

Google Scholar

Google News Archive

In September of 2006, Google introduced the "News Archive Search" (http://news.google.com/archivesearch), a search engine covering extensive backfiles of many major newspapers. OpenURL Referrer will insert OpenURLs in the search results of this service as well.

Web COinS

Recent work has gone into developing a way of embedding machine-readable citations into HTML. The result is COinS (Context Objects in Spans). With COinS, the publisher of a blog, electronic journal, or any other online resource can create citations that can easily be converted to OpenURL links by tools like OpenURL Referrer. COinS can be found in popular websites such as Open WorldCat and Wikipedia. In Wikipedia, for example, COinS often appear in the "References" section of an article, as shown in the picture below:


For the complete COinS specification, see http://oCoinS.info. Discussion of the specification is taking place on the GCS-PCS mailing list

Technical Requirements/Details

The Firefox Version is designed for Mozilla Firefox version 1.0 or higher. The IE Version is designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6 or higher.

You will need to have access to a library with a link resolver that supports OpenURL version 0.1 or 1.0. OpenURL Referrer can automatically detect your link resolver settings using the OCLC OpenURL Resolver Registry. If your institution is not yet represented in the registry, ask your library administrator to register a link resolver as part of your library profile in the WorldCat Registry (http://worldcat.org/registry/institutions). Registration is open to all libraries, both OCLC and non-OCLC. The The Firefox version of the extension can also be configured manually.

OpenURL Referrer is based on Peter Binkley's Google Scholar OpenURL extension. If you have this extension installed, it is recommended that you uninstall it before installing OpenURL Referrer. Otherwise, your Google Scholar results will have two OpenURL links, one provided by each extension.

OpenURL Referrer Firefox Version is released under the MPL tri-license. It can be used under the terms of any one of the MPL 1.1, GPL 2.0, or LGPL 2.1. OpenURL Referrer IE Version is released under the WorldCat Registry Terms and Conditions.

Click here to read the Version History (for the Firefox Version)

Click here to read the Version History (for the Internet Explorer Version)

Installation/Usage Instructions (Internet Explorer)

  1. Click here to download the extension.
  2. Launch the 'openurlref.exe' application. Agree to the license agreement. Then click 'Install'.
  3. Restart the browser, and the extension is installed!
  4. When viewing a page containing COinS (or a Google Scholar or News Archive results page), click "Insert OpenURLs" in the context menu or "Tools" menu to insert OpenURLs in the page. This must be done for each page you want to add OpenURLs to.
  5. You can temporarily disable the extension using the control panel 'Tools -> Manage Add-ons -> Enable or Disable Add-ons ...' or uninstall it using the 'Add/Remove Programs' control panel.
  6. If your instituion has not registered a link resolver in the WorldCat Registry, then the links will point to Open WorldCat, which will list libraries in your area that hold a print copy of the requested item. To link to your library's electronic resources, ask your library administrator to register a link resolver as part of your library profile in the WorldCat Registry (http://worldcat.org/registry/institutions).

Installation/Usage Instructions (Firefox)

  1. Click here to download the extension.

  2. If Firefox brings up an installation prompt, click "Install". If it asks you if you want to open or save the file, open the file with Firefox as the application. Alternatively, you can save the file to disk and drag it on to the Firefox window.

  3. Restart the browser, and the extension is installed!

  4. Enter your library's linking information:

    The first time you restart the browser after installing the extension, the following configuration window will appear:

    Options Pane

    • The "Link Server Base URL" is the address of your local library's link server, which will take the link provided by the extension and query the library's databases. If you do not know the Base URL of your library's resolver, click the "Find Resolvers" button. This will check the OCLC OpenURL Resolver Registry for link servers accessible from your location. If no resolvers can be found, ask your library administrator to register a link resolver as part of your library profile in the WorldCat Registry (http://worldcat.org/registry/institutions).
    • You can also choose to display the local library link as text or an image. Select one of these options, and specify either the text to be displayed or a URL pointing to the desired image.

    • Clicking the "Strip commas and periods from journal titles" box will remove those two characters from journal titles in the OpenURL. (You may need to do this to make the generated OpenURL compatible with certain SFX link resolvers).

    • You can also create Profiles for different libraries. Select a profile from the drop-down menu at the top of the window and the fields will automatically be filled in. Create your own profiles with the "Add Profile" button, and remove them with the "Delete Profile" button. If you modify the settings for a profile, you can save your changes with the "Save Changes" button. The "OK" button will save the changes to the current profile and close the window. The "Cancel" button will close the window without saving your changes.

    • If you want to change the settings later on, you can pull up the window again by selecting "Extensions" from the "Tools" menu, then double-clicking the OpenURL Referrer extension. You can also check for updates by clicking the "Update" button. (You may need to clear your browser's cache for the update to install).

RSS feed for updates

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