by Michael Kim, Past Chair (Published September 1, 2012)
Program: NISO’s IOTA Initiative: Fixing OpenURL Links Using Data Analysis
Moderator: Rafal Kasprowski, Rice University
Speakers: Rafal Kasprowski, Rice University; Susan Marcin, Columbia University: Oliver Pesch, EBSCO Information Services
Rafal Kasprowski, the first speaker, started his presentation with a definition of IOTA (Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics).
IOTA is an initiative that measures the relative importance of the elements that make up OpenURL links to help vedors improve their OpenURL strings so that the maximum number of OpenURL request resolve to a correct record. It includes many elements, such as journal/book titles, ISBN/ISSN, DOI (Digital Object Identifier), volumes, authors, etc. OpenURL is an open standard generating dynamic that links a time of information inquiry from the patron to an online information database. Vendors maintain the central holdings knowledge base. Based on the knowledge bases, OpenURL resolver will translate each information inquiry and send out target URL and allow patrons to obtain full-text information from the online information database. While the advantage of this approach is that knowledge base vendors taken care of most of linking setup, the disadvantage is that this kind of dynamic linking tends to be less predictable than static linking.
In order to address this issue, NISO created two groups complementary working groups IOTA & KBART in January 2010. While KBART (Knowledge Bases And Related Tools) deals with data issues at the knowledge base level, IOTA deals with issues specific to OpenURL linking and seeks to improve the OpenURL elements used by OpenURL providers. The desired outcome of the IOTA group is to provide qualitative reports that will help OpenURL providers quickly compare their OpenURL quality to that of their peers and to develop community-recognized indexes for measuring the quality of OpenURL links that are generated by content providers. The IOTA group created an OpenURL Quality Index and will continue with further investigation.
Susan Marcin, the second speaker, presented on usefulness of IOTA’s OpenURL reports in terms of improving OpenURL links for e-books. During her presentation, “E-Books & OpenURL Linking, she described the collaborative study by the 2CUL E-Book Task Force,” which is a partnership between the Columbia University Libraries and the Cornell University Library that is based on a broad integration of resources, collections, services, and expertise.
According to Marcin, the improvement of OpenURL linking would provide a better user experience and increased user satisfaction. The Task Force looked at IOTA data in order to assess the quality of E-Book OpenURLs. Their findings conclude that:
- Sending only a title in an OpenURL string is not always sufficient to find a match;
- If there is an ISBN associated with a book, then the OpenURL provider should include the ISBN in the OpenURL request for better results;
- The inclusion of certain criteria, such as ISBN, DOI, and title, do appear to promote OpenURL linking success;
- If additional data, such as an author’s last name with the title, is included, the precision of the results should improve.
Oliver Pesch, the third speaker, discussed the improvements to and limitations of IOTA’s OpenURL Quality Index. The Completeness Score measures the “completeness” of a single OpenURL and can be calculated by weighing the elements provided in the OpenURL based on their importance in target links. Some elements are more important than others and will have a higher weight. The Completeness Index is attributed to the content provider as an overall measure of the completeness of their OpenURLs. This is a mechanism that individual link resolver vendors can use to provide metrics that improve their service quality. He showed the test results based on LinkSource and 360-Link as a test system. The results indicated that:
- The step-wise regression approach to element weights works;
- Completeness index scores can be correlated to actual OpenURL “success”;
- Knowledge base and resolver technology influence results and prevent a universal set of element weights.
In conclusion, he described the future plans for IOTA. The group will publish a technical report on their work to date and recommend practices for the calculation and use of completeness scores by link resolver vendors for link quality assessment. The group will continue work as a NISO standing committee for at least one more year.
This session was presented by Information Technology. PowerPoint slides are available from http://www.slideshare.net/rkaspro.