Missing MPG/SFX in PubMed?

NCBI PubMed is a resource free available to everybody without any subscription or registration. Therefore, we cannot specify MPG/SFX as the default link resolver for all users from the MPG – as we do so for resources on subscription base. Anyway, entering the database via a special URL allows you to access MPG/SFX services directly from PubMed’s record pages:


If you don’t want to remember the above URL all th time, you may choose one of the following entry points which set the parameter automatically:

A note for MPG librarians: If you are providing a link to PubMed from your library’s homepage, you may want to update this as well 😉

Enabling OpenURL links in the reference section of APS PROLA

You would like to request the MPG/SFX link resolver directly from the references cited by an article published on the APS PROLA platform? This is possible, after you activated the feature by

  1. going to http://prola.aps.org/openurl
  2. entering "http://sfx.mpg.de/sfx_local" as your OpenURL setting and "Save"
  3. enjoying PROLA’s OpenURLs, e.g. from Phys. Rev. E 60, 3361 (1999)

OpenURLs in reference section of APS Prola

Update: Meanwhile we learned that APS PROLA intends to provide the OpenURL setting at institution level as well, but this will require some more time. Good news, anyway!

MPG-Bibliothekstagung 2008… wir haben fertig!

photo by dalantech.

Die Vorbereitung der MPG-Bibliothekstagungen war auch in den letzten Jahren bereits ziemlich arbeitssam, aber dieses Jahr haben wir wirklich ein Fleissbienchen verdient. Am Montag beginnt das XXXI. Librarian Meeting of the Max Planck Society und das vLib Projekt bringt mit:

Na, dann bleibt uns jetzt nur noch die Vorfreude auf eine interessante Tagung!

vLib4 Release ante portas

On 17th of April, we will launch a new version of the vLib portal which bases on the MetaLib software developed by ExLibris.

Feel free to check out a previiew under http://vlib3.mpg.de (no longer available) and to provide us with your feedback – via submitting a comment to this post or by filling our the vLib contact form.

The upcoming version will introduce following features and improvements:

  • Integration of RSS feeds for resource lists in the vLib portal. More information is available on our project pages.
  • Installation of search plug-in directly from the QuickSearch interface. Just click the button below a quick set to add the corresponding plug-in to your browser.
    screen shot of button
  • Improved web accessibility of the vLib user interface.
  • Extended export functionalities, i.e. support of various character sets.

Further changes:

  • The default search syntax changes from "phrase" to "keyword", thus if you enter several terms they will automatically combined by AND. To search for a phrase, enter it in quotation marks. Please avoid entering operators like AND, OR and NOT within a search field.
  • The keyword index for resources is no longer available. After releasing the new interface, the subject categories will be extended to incorporate the the former keywords.
  • Personalization features like "MyDatabases" and "MySettings" have been moved to the MySpace area.

Are MPG/SFX buttons where the party is?

The vLib team works hard in the background to add MPG/SFX buttons to all the locations where they may be helpful for users from the Max Planck Society (MPG). This includes

  • results list of reference databases licensed within the MPG (e.g. the Web of Science) and MPG library catalogs (e.g. on the Aleph server),
  • eDoc – the institutional repository of the MPG,
  • reference lists published as part of journal articles (e.g. at Cambridge University Press or IEEE Xplore) as well as
  • free available resource like Wikipedia by using a small browser plugIn which interprets CoinS

An overview on MPG/SFX enabled resources is available in the vLib documentation, but we need your help for investigating further locations. Please inform us about those interfaces where you actually missing this option!

MPG/SFX becoming tiny

The MPG/SFX link resolver bases on the OpenURL standard which defines a way to transport bibliographic metadata via an HTTP request. This standard made context-sensitive linking possible and helped us to create many new services within in the digital library. On the other hand, OpenURLs tend to become very long – because information providers wish to deliver as much detail as possible – and are therefore often difficult to re-use, e.g. by copying it into the body of an e-mail.

But solutions are available for everything: A fellow developer just recently released a new service to make long URLs tiny and we integrated this service into the MPG/SFX menu. Therefore, you should now find a short URL at the bottom of each MPG/SFX menu:

tiny url in sfx menu

This URL will take you back to the MPG/SFX menu requested with the original OpenURL and we hope you will like it!

SFX and DOI: sometimes just a pain in the neck

One of the major goals of the MPG/SFX link resolver is to provide links to content licensed for the staff of the Max Planck Society. These links should lead you – the user – as close as possible to the relevant full text, e.g. by addressing the article’s abstract page. Unfortunately, not all information providers support a useful deep linking syntax and a hand full of publishers only enabled article level linking through CrossRef/DOI (see ExLibris’ target documentation). Therefore, the MPG/SFX resolver uses DOI redirects for several important information providers like Elsevier’s ScienceDirect and Nature Publishing Group.

The drawback of this solution is that DOIs sometimes resolve to another copy of the article than the requester has actually access to. The so called appropriate copy problem occurs for all kind of databases aggregating full texts from various publishers (e.g. EBSCOHost Academic Search Premier). In addition, it also happens quite often that journals move from one publisher’s platform to another and it takes some time until the CrossRef index is updated.

So what to do? While DOI links very often provide a better service, they may be misleading in rare cases. After receiving an error report from one of our users, it looks like we found a feasible solution which might be worth further exploring. The trick uses the fact that each DOI carries the information about the particular publisher responsible for resolving the target URL in its prefix (see list of doi site keys). The MPG/SFX link resolver now checks the site key to ensure that the DOI link is forwarded to the appropriate publisher for a specific target.

Anyway, some twists are possible with content moved between platforms and we are very interested in hearing about any weird experience you may have done with full text linking via MPG/SFX. So please submit a comment via the MPG/SFX feedback form whenever you are stranded far away from the full text of your interest.

Detailed background information on how MPG/SFX uses DOIs is available in the vLib project documentation.