February 7, 2009
I read with great interest a blog posting reporting on Herbert Van de Sompel’s closing keynote speech at the 9th International Bielefeld Conference in Germany this week. The posting is entitled ‘Herbert’s Adventures in Linking’ and reports on Herbert’s review of the last 10 years of key initiatives in which he has been involved; and the resulting standards that have emerged.
Unfortunately despite the 20 minutes time extension for his presentation, Herbert did not manage to cover his work on bX, though I am assured the audience saw the slides as Herbert flipped through these! I hope that those of you attending the Bielefeld conference did manage to hear my colleague, Axel Katsche, present on bX.
bX is very much part of an Ex Libris journey (and an adventure) that started in the late 1990’s with the Ghent University Executive Lounge and Herbert’s work to link SilverPlatter databases to the Aleph OPAC. In 2000, Ex Libris acquired the SFX linking technology from Ghent University, and created the SFX product as we know it today and now installed in over 1700 sites. We also played a key role together with Herbert in the development of the OpenURL framework and its submission to NISO as a potential standard. The OpenURL became a NISO standard in 2004. All this in turn laid down the infrastructure for bX, the scholarly recommender service based on the mining of the SFX/OpenURL usage logs.
bX has already collected link resolver usage data from institutions around the world based on many years of research activity at those institutions resulting in millions of transactions. The bX scholarly recommender services will be just the start of a range of potential services derived from this data.