The openURL server at http://law.wlu.edu/library/resolver.asp accepts information such as ISBN, ISSN, journal-name, volume, issue, page, year, article-title, and article-author (lastname), and supplies links to potential sources of full-text information. Information may be supplied to the server by way of a web form, or embedded in a URL such as http://law.wlu.edu/library/resolver.asp?title=Idaha+Law+Review&volume=40
Fields to supply after the question mark (separated by ampersands) could include:
If the data from the user includes "genre=book" or "isbn=xxxxxxxxxx" then links to book-related sources will be created (such as links to library catalogs and Amazon.com) otherwise the server will default to assuming that the user wants links to journals or journal articles.
Searches for journals are based on the journal title words sent by the user in the "title=xxxxxx" field, or on the ISSN field (if any). Journal title searches are not completely reliable as the database may include variations in the journal names. Searches will run against the database in the following order, and only if no records are found will the server go on to try the next search type:
- first, conduct an ISSN search if the user entered one, or one can be found in the database matching the exact title entered.
- second, look for matching records in the database that begin with the same character string that was sent by the user in the title field.
- third, look for journal titles that have all the words sent by the user
- fourth, remove the last word in the title field entered by the user and search for a match on all remaining words, and continue dropping the last word and searching until a match is found or there are less than two words remaining
- fifth, conduct a sub-string search looking for any occurrence of the complete title string sent by the user
If multiple matching titles are found then a list is offered. After the user selects one entry then the search is run again looking for an exact match on that chosen title.
If a matching journal title record is available, then usually links are formed to journal level and site level. If information such as volume/page/issue or article-title/author are sent by the user then the server will attempt to create links to specific article, page or issue levels in the supplier's online system. This will depend on what information is sent to the server and what each supplier requires. None of these links will have been pre-validated, they are formed mechanically out of the user supplied data and the rules for each supplier. Note especially that no date validation is done, so even if the user supplies a year of publication, and the supplier is listed as not covering that year, a link to article/issue/volume levels may still be created.
To warn users as to which suppliers have access restrictions, the supplier name may show either an or symbol. "IP" indicating that you must be connecting from an institution that has a subscription and the vendor will check the IP address of your computer to verify this (this may entail using a proxy service - W&L users who are off-campus should check the "If W&L user" checkbox to activate the proxy service). "Pwd", of course, indicating that you must know a password to access the vendor. An absence of either symbol usually means that access is freely available (though this may only be access at an indexing or table-of-contents level).
When connecting from off-campus, there is a checkbox for use by Washington and Lee University affiliated users, checking this box will generate a proxy link at the beginning of each URL in order to validate users to suppliers that test to see if connections are being made from Washington and Lee computers. W&L users who are off-campus should check this box in order to utilize the proxy server, non-W&L users should not, as it will prevent their access to all IP-restricted sources even if they themselves subscribe to the sources.