Discovery services such as Summon are the most exciting new development in library information technology in recent years, but the unsung hero of this technology is the linking which underlies it. Without properly functional full text links, the end user will not get access to their desired information. OpenURL has been the standard of exchange of mediated linking information for more than a decade, but it has been hampered by uneven support across all levels of the information supply chain.
NISO initiated the IOTA (Improving Openurl Through Analytics) working group in order to give libraries a yardstick with which to measure the quality of the OpenURL transactions flowing across their systems, but it became something more over its three year span. In the final accounting, the onus of improvement falls on the shoulders of the link resolver vendors, like Serials Solutions. We must make the effort to understand the nature of our own products better. We are a software company, and we test our code, but we must step beyond simply testing for functionality. The implementation of proactive testing to spot potential data problems is the next logical step in ensuring that we provide our clients with the best results possible.
The link resolver service we provide is an indispensable one in the world of electronic resources. And now, IOTA is serving to open an industry-wide dialog about what we can do to make this service better.