Link Resolvers: Reality Check

Jill Grogg

a part of Planning for Discovery Tools for Library 2.0:2 009 Midwinter Symposium

Abstract: In 1999, Herbert Van de Sompel and Patrick Hochstenbach published a three-part series of papers about reference linking and SFX in D-Lib Magazine. A decade later, in 2009, the OpenURL and its implementation via link resolvers are an integral part of the 21st century library. In academic libraries, link resolvers have become nearly as common as integrated library systems. The rapid adoption, standardization, and commercialization of link resolvers are testament to the power and necessity of the OpenURL, and more generally, to linking itself. One of the side effects of link resolver technology for libraries is the knowledgebase, or underlying ocean of data about the electronic resource to which a library subscribes and has access. The ways in which libraries have absorbed and exploited link resolvers and their accompanying knowledgebases are as varied as libraries themselves. By examining the successes and failures of linking over the past decade—as well as situating link resolvers within the myriad of available library e-resource tools and technologies—librarians can begin to chart the path of linking in the future.


Jill Grogg is the e-resources librarian for the University of Alabama Libraries. She was named a 2007 Mover & Shaker and publishes on link resolver technology, e-resource management, book digitization projects, among other topics.