[MIMAS logo] ITAM: NISO OpenURL Z39.88-2004 Development


The OpenURL strand of the ITAM project included work by Ann Apps as a member of the NISO Committee AX tasked with developing the OpenURL standard Z39.88-2004. It also included taking part in the OpenURL trial using a bespoke version of zetoc.

OpenURL Z39.88-2004 Development

During the course of the ITAM project Ann Apps was involved in the development of the proposed NISO standard The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services, Z39.88-2004. OpenURL began with the original draft version of OpenURL (v0.1) but has been formalised and generalised into an extensible framework. This work continued beyond the official closing date of the ITAM project with some continuation funding from the JISC for travel and time. Ann kept the JISC UK HE/FE community up-to-date on developments.

NISO Committee AX first met in June 2001. The committee held about eight 'face to face' meetings in the US, six of which were attended by Ann, the last being in October 2003. There was also a great deal of email discussion and several conference calls. Version 1.0 of the standard was finally agreed by the committee on 28 October 2003 and formally handed over to NISO the following day. Following copy editing by a technical writer appointed by NISO, the standard was put to ballot by NISO at the end of January 2004 until the end of March 2004.

As well as developing the standard document, Implementation Guidelines for using the Key/Encoded-Value format of OpenURL have been written, mostly by Ann (available via the same webpage as the standard). These provide a more informal overview of the standard and many examples of using OpenURL. They also provide guidelines for upgrading from version 0.1 OpenURLs.

NISO held an OpenURL Workshop in Washington DC on 29 October 2003 to publicise and explain OpenURL. Ann talked at this Workshop about upgrading existing OpenURLs based on the Implementation Guidelines.

The OpenURL Trial

In order to test the emerging OpenURL 1.0 standard, NISO Committee AX set up a trial which ran from May to end October 2003. Particiapnts in this trial were: data providers who constructed source OpenURLs; vendors and providers of OpenURL resolver services; and libraries providing end-user services based on OpenURL.

As part of the ITAM project, MIMAS took part in this trial using a customised version of zetoc to provide sample OpenURLs. Because of restrictions imposed by the British Library on the use of the data, the zetoc data used for this trial was from 2000. Access to this trial version of zetoc was by IP authentication, trial participants being asked to supply their IP addresses. Some participants requested that their links be shown only to themselves and MIMAS.

zetoc for OpenURL trial was constructed from the Cheshire prototype version of zetoc that was developed as part of the zetoc Enhancements Project. Because of the modular nature of the data composed into a Cheshire virtual database it was possible to provide a bespoke interface into year 2000 data only. The application provided two sets of links from the zetoc full record for a journal article or conference paper: OpenURL San Antonio Profile Level 1 (SAP1) OpenURLs; and hybrid SAP1 and OpenURL 0.1 links. Links were tested successfully with:


The ITAM project was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) for the UK Higher and Further Education Councils as part of the JISC Services 5/99 DNER Programme.

9 February 2004, epub@manchester.ac.uk          [Go to MIMAS home page]          [Valid XHTML 1.0!]