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Traversing the Last Mile

Ross Singer

In August, Georgia Tech launched 'the Ümlaut', an OpenURL middleware layer intended to bridge the gap between vendor supplied databases, our SFX link resolver, our catalog and freely available gray literature. There were many breakdowns with our link resolver, most notably with conference proceedings, that merely left users frustrated. Librarians pointed at the vendors' crappy data, vendors blamed the librarians, but this did nothing to help the users.

By indexing the opac data a little differently, utilizing the search engine APIs, OAI-PMH providers and various other web services, we were able to enhance the functionality of our link resolver to eliminate majority of our most problematic use cases. When new issues arise, it is trivial to add new logic to handle them.

This presentation will use the Ümlaut as an example of bringing together simple, easily accessible tools into one framework and will open dialog on how these methods can open other bottlenecks in our traditional workflows.