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Definition: OpenURL

A URL that refers to an article, book or other resource rather than the physical location of the item on the Web. Developed for use in libraries and other repositories of information, the OpenURL contains the address of an OpenURL website combined with the item's identification. The OpenURL website serves as a resolver and finds the physical address of the item. Developed by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), it was turned over to the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Dublin, OH (www.oclc.org) in 2006.

SFX was the first and most widely used link resolver software for OpenURL and the name is sometimes used synonymously with OpenURL. Developed by librarians in Belgium under the "Special Effects" project name, SFX was later commercialized by Ex Libris Ltd. (www.exlibris.co.il).

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The OpenURL functions in a somewhat similar manner to a permalink because it retains a permanent identification to a resource no matter where it resides. See permalink.