Ex Libris announced today that the company has acquired the sole rights to the SFX Reference Linking Software Solution from the University of Gent (Belgium) and will begin its immediate deployment. SFX will play a vital role in Ex Libris' new Internet Strategy.
The wide use of hyperlinks on the World Wide Web has conditioned Internet users to expect similar linking convenience within other computer environments, including digital library collections. However, when you want to ascertain the availability of items, it is still a case of "hit-and-miss".
As the Web evolves, the creation of services that link related information entities is an area of strongly growing interest, particularly for the research community and for managers of research-related information systems. Publishers, subscription agents, researchers and libraries are looking for ways to create value-added services through linking these entities.
"SFX is a groundbreaking tool for discovery and navigation that will deliver such linking services in the scholarly information environment" said Oren Beit-Arie, Vice President of Research and Development. "SFX enables linking between all parts of an electronic collection: full-text repositories; abstracting, indexing and citation databases; online library catalogs; citations appearing in research articles and other web resources. For instance, SFX allows publishers to provide links back to individual libraries within the online journal pages. These links enable librarians to add customized online services for users based on their local resources and environment. "
Ex Libris, a leading worldwide developer of high performance applications for libraries and information centers, will be working with the developers of SFX - Herbert Van de Sompel and Patrick Hochstenbach - to deploy SFX worldwide. Several renowned research institutions in the US and Europe have already expressed their interest in becoming early adopters.
Ex Libris is establishing an independent Information Services Division of Ex Libris (USA) Inc. that will be responsible for the development, sales and support of the SFX service.
SFX is a system that dynamically interlinks numerous electronic resources and can be used in a wide range of digital libraries. SFX is based on the research work about the reference linking problem undertaken by Herbert Van de Sompel at the University of Gent and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It has been applied in the complex digital library environments of both institutions. The solution has successfully demonstrated its ability to dynamically create services interlinking:
- Abstracting and indexing databases (Inspec, Medline, PubMed, Public Genome database, MathSci, Compendex, LiSa, Current Contents, BIOSIS, Books in Print, EconLit, Ulrich)
- Library catalogues ·
- Citation databases (ISI, SLAC/SPIRES)
- Citations in research papers (Wiley InterScience, American Physical Society PROLA archive)
- e-print archives (Los Alamos xxx and the experimental UPS Prototype service),
- Internet Bookshops
The SFX solution is already highly acclaimed within the digital library research community. A number of articles have been published in D-Lib magazine and SFX has been widely presented during the past year. For further details on SFX see the References below.
Van de Sompel, Herbert and Patrick Hochstenbach. 1999. Reference linking in a hybrid library environment. Part 3: Generalizing the SFX solution in the "SFX@Ghent & SFX@LANL" experiment. D-Lib Magazine 5, no. 10.
Forthcoming: Van de Sompel, Herbert, Thomas Krichel, Michael L. Nelson and others. The UPS prototype project: exploring the obstacles in creating a cross e-print archive end-user service. D-Lib Magazine 6, no. 2.