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OpenURL is a standardized format (Z39.88) of Uniform Resource Locator (URL) intended to enable Internet users to more easily find a copy of a resource that they are allowed to access. Although OpenURL can be used with any kind of resource on the Internet, it is most heavily used by libraries to help connect patrons to subscription content. The OpenURL standard is designed to enable linking from information resources such as abstracting and indexing databases (sources) to library services (targets), such as academic journals, whether online or in printed or other formats. The linking is mediated by "link resolvers", or "link-servers", which parse the elements of an OpenURL and provide links to appropriate targets available through a library by the use of an OpenURL knowledge base. The source that generates an OpenURL is typically a bibliographic citation or bibliographic record in a database that indexes the information resources often found in libraries, such as articles, books, patents, etc. Examples of such databases include Ovid, Web of Science, SciFinder, Modern Languages Association Bibliography and Google Scholar. A target is a resource or service that helps satisfy a user's information needs. Examples of targets include full-text repositories, online journals, online library catalogs and other Web resources and services. The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has developed OpenURL and its data container (the ContextObject) as American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z39.88. On 22 June 2006, the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was named the maintenance agency for the standard. (Excerpt from Wikipedia article: OpenUrl)
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