Referencing OpenURL

So, why is it just so difficult to reference OpenURL?
Apart from the standard itself (hardly intended for human consumption – see abstract page here and PDF here – and don’t even think to look at those links – they weren’t meant to be cited!), seems that the best reference is to the Wikipedia page. There is the OpenURL Registry page at but this is just a workshop. Not much there beyond the OpenURL registered items. (And why does the page seem uncertain as to whether it’s a “repository” or a “registry”? Is there no difference between those terms?) The only other links are to a mix of HTML and PDF resources. (There really should be a health warning on links to PDFs – they are just not browser friendly documents.) And, I do have to wonder at this: the registry page has a link to the unofficial 0.1 version but not to the 1.0 standard. Er, why? And don’t even try this link: Not much info there.
Where else to go? The NISO site allows a search on “openurl” which returns links to the standard and to other related documents.
And then there’s the community site targeted at developers and its Planet OpenURL which is a useful source for current awareness.
Me, I’m sticking with the Wikipedia page as the best reference for OpenURL. How odd that OpenURL aimed at improving linking on the Web should not have it’s own simple access point. Thank heavens at least that DOI has a single reference point:

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Referencing OpenURL by Tony Hammond is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “Referencing OpenURL”

  1. I share your pain. OpenURL is actually amazingly confusing, and the more you get into it, the more confusing and complicated you realize it is. But fortunately, for doing fairly simple things, you can usually ignore most of that.
    Happy to share any knowledge I’ve gained by trying to figure this stuff out, feel free to email me with any questions. Or the code4lib listserv, or maybe best of all the OpenURL discussion listserv, which I think you would have NEVER found googling:
    I don’t remember what I had to do to subscribe to it, but maybe you can find it googling now that you know the listserv address.

  2. Hi Tony,
    Once we make some real progress, this is what I hope KBART will be able to offer – a good starting/reference point for info about OpenURL, including some entry-level definitions and links to other resources (such as those you describe above). Will be publicising it widely when we get to that point, so it’s a “watch this space”…

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