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OpenURL is a container format for describing requests for access to a publication. As such, it contains metadata about publications, however to describe access requests, it contains data for:

  • the resource that contains a link to the publication (e.g., the URL of a second publication (or ontology) that links to the publication of interest)
  • the person making the request
  • access requested (full text, abstract only, etc.)
  • the system that should process the request
  • system where the request originates (the system that provided the publication or ontology that linked to the publication of interest, e.g., a publisher or an ontology repository).

OpenURL exists in two versions - the Framework Standard specified in NISO-Z39.88, and the earlier OpenURL0.1, which existed as a de facto standard prior to the development of the Z39.88 specification.


ANSI/NISO Z39.88 - The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services

OpenURL 0.1 specification