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Open URL Resolvers/Knowledge bases

Report on Resolvers Knowledge Bases

Knowledge Base and Link Resolver Study: General Findings. By Marshall Breeding, for the National Library of Sweden
1st May 2012
'This report summarizes research conducted on OpenURL Link Resolvers and their associated Knowledge Bases. It includes information collected from the providers of these products as well as data provided b ====== Table of Contents ====== Report on Resolvers Knowledge BasesKnowledge Base productsSFXLinkSource and EBSCOhost Integrated KnowledgeBaseKnowledgeWorks and 360 LinkWorldCat knowledge baseGlobal KnowledgeBaseWebBridgeCUFTS/GODOTKnowledge Base -community initiativesKnowledge Base Plus (KB+) InitiativeGlobal Open Knowledge BaseIntroduction to link resolvers and Knowledge BasesContentsUseChallengesReferences
y the libraries that use them regarding their experiences of their quality and effectiveness. The study focuses primarily on the knowledge bases, though it also examines the functionality offered in the link resolvers. In addition to the these characterizations of the products, the report also provides observations regarding the role that these products play in the broader landscape of library automation and some of the trends currently in motion'

Some quotes from the report
We can expect that the knowledge base products will become less differentiated in terms of quantity of materials covered over time.'

The preliminary results of the library survey did not reveal dramatic differences among the perceived comprehensiveness of the knowledge bases, and positive ratings in this category did not correlate with perceived effectiveness in end-user linking.

The one category in which libraries rated all of the products less positively regards their responsiveness in making corrections to the knowledge base.

The narrative comments supplied in the survey provide a great deal of interesting information. The comments reveal some positive and negative aspects of each product.

Knowledge Base products


(Vendor: Ex Libris)

LinkSource and EBSCOhost Integrated KnowledgeBase

(Vendor: EBSCO)

(Vendor: ProQuest (Serials Solutions)

WorldCat knowledge base

(Vendor: OCLC)

Global KnowledgeBase

(Vendor: TDNet)


(Vendor: Innovative Interfaces)


(Open source project launched at Simon Fraser University)

Knowledge Base -community initiatives

Knowledge Base Plus (KB+) Initiative KB+ is a service from Jisc Collections to provide a shared academic knowledge base for the UK academic community. It was originally funded through HEFCE's Universities Modernisation Fund in response to studies by Jisc and SCONUL that found significant demand from library directors for shared services in the areas of library management systems, e-resource management and licensing. KB+ captures and represents information that institutions need to manage their subscribed resources, for example the details of titles in publisher packages, e-resource licences and institutional entitlement and holding information. It seeks to provide a one-stop shop for the management of this information for and by UK institutions but also making sure that this information is widely available throughout the supply chain to any other systems, vendors and services that require it. KB+ is available free of charge to all UK academic institutions at KB+ is now in its third phase of development.
What do I use KB+ for?

  • KB+ is a service to manage your subscriptions and licences, or both of these together, especially in relation to electronic resources.
  • KB+ stores accurate title lists with holdings of a number of content providers ( see Which publishers are on KB+? )
  • Among other things, you can use KB+ to
  • Build up and compare historical title lists of your deals/packages across the years
  • Compare packages and where individual titles are represented in different collections
  • Show title changes and how a title moves between collections
  • Attach documents and notes on licenses and subscriptions
  • Store your institutional licenses.
  • KB+ is not only a piece of software. KB+ is a community-based service. It works as a central representative for library customers, liaising with publishers for accurate lists and provide these lists to link resolver vendors.

Global Open Knowledge Base An enhanced knowledge base
At its core, GOKb is a knowledge base that will describe electronic journals and books, publisher packages, and platforms in a way that will be familiar to librarians who have worked with electronic resources. GOKb aims to go further by introducing several improvements to the standard set of knowledge base metadata. The enhanced data model will track changes over time, including publisher take-overs and bibliographic changes, and an expanded set of identifiers.
A community-managed knowledge base
GOKb aims to give libraries a space to manage key data about the resources we purchase and a means to contribute directly to the quality of this data. GOKb is a multi-institutional collaboration that includes partners from the United States and Europe. The GOKb project is being designed and implemented by the Kuali OLE founding partners and JISC Collections of the United Kingdom. It began as a solution to provide electronic resources information to the partners, but has expanded to an open data initiative that can benefit the broader library community.
An open knowledge base
The data found in GOKb will be made freely available to libraries, academic publishers, library service providers, and the public using a web-based interface and APIs. It will include a co-referencing servce that will allow users to crosswalk data between systems and sets of identifiers. In addition to serving the community, open data offers practical benefits, including improved accuracy resulting from the expertise of many contributors and a dataset that is not tied to any one commercial product.

Introduction to link resolvers and Knowledge Bases

See Also:
Knowledge Base and Link Resolver Study: General Findings. By Marshall Breeding, for the National Library of Sweden 1st May 2012

An OpenURL knowledge base is an extensive database containing information about electronic resources such as electronic journals or ebooks and their availability and accessibility. Using the knowledge base, an OpenURL link resolver can determine if an item (article, book etc.) is available electronically and what the appropriate copy for a user is.

The knowledge base helps a library to identify the content they have access to and present it to the users for access. Vendor-maintained knowledge bases seek to offer comprehensive coverage of items that are available to a wider community. As not every institution has access to all content under their individual license agreements the knowledge bases usually offer customization tools to localize its content. Individual institutions can then modify a knowledge base to reflect their local collections, for example, which titles can be accessed electronically by their users; which website provides access to their users; and which resources are owned by the library in print format.


Information stored include metadata describing individual journals and books, serials title lists available from specific platforms, what years are in the subscription (also called coverage dates) for each title and platform and inbound hyperlink syntax.


The knowledge base is essential in directing the user from a citation to available full text or other services. The link resolver extracts information received in an OpenURL and uses the knowledge base to augment and correct the data and to find services available to this user for this item. If it is available, the knowledge base provides the link resolver with the data needed to create a link to the desired item, ideally to the electronic full text.

OpenURL knowledge bases often have a close relationship with electronic resource management systems (ERMS) as both the link resolver and the ERMS essentially use the same core metadata.

In order for OpenURL linking to be successful in directing users to full text and other services; two components are required. Firstly the OpenURL query must direct the user to the appropriate level of access (be that the article; issue or journal title level for example) using the link server base URL appropriate to the user’s institution. Secondly the knowledge base that is queried by the link resolver must reference the appropriate copy of the full text service for that user based on active subscription that their parent institution might hold. This requires the knowledge base to be accurate; up to date; and comprehensive and much time is expended by libraries and link resolver vendors in ensuring the knowledge base satisfies this goal. Both of the above components must be accurate in order to allow end users to discover and access the electronic services they require. This in turn leads to more successful linking to full text which can increase content usage which benefits the whole supply chain for electronic content.


To be able to direct the user to the right content and to provide correct information it is essential for a knowledge base that the data is accurate, comprehensive and up to date. Knowledge base vendors usually obtain this information from the publishers, aggregators and other sources in many different shapes and format. In 2006 UKSG commissioned a research report[1] that identified and described issues affecting the efficiency of OpenURL linking. One of the key issues identified was the exchange of metadata in the supply chain and the need for more common formats to aid the transfer of metadata from content providers to link resolver knowledge bases. As a result, in 2008 UKSG and NISO set up a joint initiative called Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART),[2] to make recommendations for the transfer of metadata. The first set of guidelines was published in January 2010 as a NISO Recommended Practice.[3]

One of the key challenges highlighted in this Recommended Practice was the importance of engaging the whole supply chain, including content providers, link resolvers, and libraries, in transferring accurate metadata describing electronic content. It has become increasingly difficult for libraries to manually maintain localized knowledge bases, due to the rapid growth in the availability of subscription and open access electronic publications and the complexity of consortial and institutional subscriptions. As a result, more emphasis is being placed on content provider provision of accurate metadata at its source, to enable link resolver vendors to provide a much more efficient and less labor intensive knowledge base to libraries. KBART is focusing effort on this area in order to increase uptake of best practice recommendations and embed the recommendations in content provider service provision.


  1. ^ KBART the Knowledge Bases And Related Tools working group of NISO and the UKSG
resolver_and_knowledge_base.txt · Last modified: 2018/09/02 07:52 (external edit)