Registries, referrals, resolutions

I have written before about how registries provide 'intelligence' in the network. Scalable loose coupling between library services will benefit from good ways to discover those services.

The Worldcat Registry includes data for library services (resolver, catalog, virtual reference) which drives Worldcat Local and's 'understanding' of the library network is captured in the Registry.

A while ago the OpenURL Resolver Registry and Gateway were incorporated into the Worldcat Registry. The Registry is openly available and the Gateway is systematically used by several other parties including Zotero:

Zotero 1.0.2 also includes several new site translators, including translators for social media sites Flickr and YouTube. Zotero’s default Open URL resolver has also been changed to the OCLC OpenURL Resolver Gateway, which will allow many Zotero users to automatically find items from their collections in their campus library through the Locate button without editing their preferences. [Zotero: The Next-Generation Research Tool » Blog Archive » Our Most Stylish Release Yet: Zotero 1.0.2]

My colleague Joanna White tells me that use of the gateway is climbing. In November 2007, over 250,.000 requests were processed. There are currently about 1,600 resolvers registered.

Here are some details about use and update of the OpenURL Resolver registry and gateway.

[OCLC OpenURL Resolver Registry [OCLC]]

Related entries:

Comments: 4

Jan 30, 2008
Jonathan Rochkind

I had not realized there was a Worldcat Registry for individuals already! Thanks for the pointer.

Ultimately though, I'm not sure this is the solution to individuals-off-campus that will last. Many individuals don't know their IP address. Many individuals in home internet do not _have_ a fixed IP address. Some individuals _share_ a fixed IP address with people that might have different resolvers.

In the long run, IP address as identity is a dead end I think (eventually our licensed content providers might figure that out too). I think some solution involving actual authentication (openID?) is neccesary. Figuring out how to make this work in a very easy way for content providers using the registry is a bit of an engineering trick, but I think it's do-able--perhaps some trick involving third-party cookies.

Jan 30, 2008
Jonathan Rochkind

PS: Your "Review this document for more information (Microsoft Word)" links all give me a not found error! Too bad, because I'd really like to review some documents for more information!

It's also pretty cheesy that for an individual to register, the individual needs to find their institutions Resolver base url, and then manually copy and paste it into their individual account setup! I was assuming that instead an interface would be provided for the user to search, find their institution, select it, and have the base url automatically provided--and better yet, automatically changed if the institution changes it in their registration.

Jan 30, 2008
Lorcan Dempsey

oops... broken links my fault in copying over. Should be fixed now.

Jan 31, 2008

Thanks for your interest and comments. Indeed we recognize that authenticating individuals based on their off-campus IP address will not work for everyone, as you point out. It does work for some. Your suggestion to allow users to search for an institution name is a good idea, one that we have considered too. This still would not solve the problems you identified with using home IP addresses. We will be looking at better off-campus solution as part of the University of Minnesota's EthicShare project ( If there are questions or ideas, you are welcome to contact me off-line whitej at oclc dot org.

Thanks, Joanna