SFX, the context-sensitive reference linking solution, originating in research work by Herbert Van de Sompel at Ghent University in Belgium, and now owned by Ex Libris, enters a new phase as beta testing gets underway in some key US libraries.
SFX Beta Test sites include:
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Harvard University Library
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- Vanderbilt University
- Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
These institutions are making their e-collections interoperable with the SFX solution and in the process of so doing are involving some major information industry vendors from whom they license data. Many of these information providers have already enabled their resources to work with SFX through implementation of the OpenURL, a generic, public syntax to allow for metadata transportation and interoperability between information resources and service components. The OpenURL specification can be found at www.sfxit.com/OpenURL
The SFX beta training sessions held recently at Harvard University provided the opportunity for the beta testers to meet and learn from the original SFX development team from Ghent, and from staff of the Ex Libris Information Services Division. Ghent University already offers SFX extended services to its users, and Herbert Van de Sompel and his team were able most enthusiastically to share with others their great successes, and the acclaim they are now receiving from their research community.
David Lewis, Dean at SFX beta test site, IUPUI University Library, believes that "SFX should solve two of the most vexing problems of web-based resources. Firstly, in linking the resources supplied by different providers in a way that allows librarians to embed their expertise into the system, users should be able to navigate the literature much more efficiently and productively. Secondly, SFX can provide uniform and vendor independent measures of use, thus providing a critical tool in the management of web resources." Eric Van de Velde of Caltech has a similar perspective. "If information resources and services are the bricks of the digital library, SFX is the mortar that holds the bricks together. Currently, users are expected to be aware of and to keep track of all relevant resources available to them. At best, they waste time. At worst, they miss out on crucial information. With SFX, librarians have the power to give the digital library a customized architecture, within which users are guided intuitively towards the appropriate resources."
For further details on SFX visit www.sfxit.com.
About Ex Libris
Ex Libris is a leading worldwide developer of high performance applications for libraries and information centers. ALEPH, the Ex Libris integrated library solution is now in over 530 installations in 41 countries. The newly formed Information Services Division is addressing the broader aspects of collection management within libraries with its initial focus being the further development and deployment of the SFX context-sensitive reference linking solution acquired by Ex Libris from Ghent University in Belgium. Ex Libris is a multi-national company with offices located around the world.