Post-print of: Wilson, K 2004, 'OpenURL: linking through the maze of online resources', Online Currents, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 3-8.
OpenURL is an open NISO (National Information Standards Organization) standard that facilitates linking from a citation or other electronic resource to journal full texts and related online resources which are licensed and accessible through a user’s library. It is also known as dynamic context sensitive reference linking. What does this mean? It’s a seemingly simple but very powerful concept, linking search tools with full texts on-the-fly and bringing them under one umbrella that points to where a user is located (the institutional context), and the resources available via that institution. OpenURL, as I discovered, is a kind of fairy story that came true, of taming the Web non-commercially, of bringing library and user control into the online publishing and research equation.