The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has released a review draft of The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services, Part 1: ContextObject and Transport Mechanisms. The specification "defines the general framework to bundle specific packages of contextual metadata and transport them over the network." Public comment on the draft is invited. The NISO Standards Committee AX anticipates that this document will be officially designated for a trial use period on April 15, 2003. NISO Draft Standards released as Draft Standards for Trial Use allow implementers to test the standard; at the end of the trial period (sometimes 12-18 months) the standard may be balloted, revised or withdrawn. Part 2 of the OpenURL specification Initial Registry Content is also planned for immediate release. Part 2 "details the core properties that can be used in actual instantiations of the general framework. It can be used by some communities to implement an instantiation of the OpenURL Framework; other communities may use this Part as a guideline for the definition and implementation of other instantiations."
The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services. Part 1: ContextObject and Transport Mechanisms. A Draft American National Standard. Developed by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). ANSI/NISO Z39.88-2003. March 12, 2003. Draft for Public Comment. 45 pages.
Excerpts from OpenURL Part 1: ContextObject and Transport Mechanisms
Abstract: This Standard provides a methodology for describing resources that are referenced in a networked environment as well as for describing the context of the reference. To capture this context, the Standard introduces the concept of the ContextObject and provides a framework for the cross-domain description of such contextual references based on the ContextObject concept. This Standard assumes that representations of ContextObjects describing referenced resources will be transported over networks for the purpose of requesting context -sensitive services pertaining to those referenced resources. This Standard introduces a Registry to contain properties that are fundamental to create concrete representations of ContextObjects, and methods to transport them. It also defines and registers the initial content of that Registry, as a means to bootstrap the deployment of the OpenURL Framework.
"The purpose of the [OpenURL] representation and transportation of those packages is to facilitate the delivery of services pertaining to the referenced resource. Conventional URL-based linking is inadequate in this respect, because link resolution: (1) is independent of the identity of the agent that actuates the link; (2) returns at most one resource or service, not a set of resources and services that depend on the context in which the link is provided and followed; (3) fails when linked resources move or become unavailable. The [OpenURL] approach taken by the Committee overcomes these limitations by transporting packages of contextual metadata and identifiers to networked systems, named Resolvers. Using the reference and the contextual information contained in these packages, Resolvers may deliver a number of services that pertain to the referenced resource and are appropriate within the context of use..."
Part 1 of this Standard introduces the ContextObject, an information construct containing descriptions of a resource that is referenced on the network and descriptions of resources that form the context of the reference. It also defines a framework consisting of several components named Namespaces (URI, ORI, XRI), Character Encodings, Physical Representations, Constraint Languages, ContextObject Formats, Metadata Formats, Transports, and Community Profiles. When defining an actual instantiation of the general OpenURL Framework, choices for each of these components must be detailed. The Registry is introduced to contain these details.
Part 2 of this Standard lists the initial content of the Registry, and -- wherever necessary -- also provides detailed definitions of the registered content. The initial Registry content is provided to bootstrap the deployment of two concrete instantiations of the OpenURL Framework, one built upon a Key/Encoded-Value representation for ContextObjects, the other upon an XML representation for ContextObjects. The initial Registry also details the OpenURL, a suite of HTTP(S)-based methods to transport representations of ContextObjects. The Registry supports the addition of public definitions for the components underlying the general OpenURL Framework, without needing to update this Standard frequently. Communities interested in deploying instantiations of the general OpenURL Framework other than those specified in Part 2, can do so by selecting existing Registry entries, and/or by registering new definitions. These Communities can use Part 2 as a guideline to deploy their instantiation of the OpenURL Framework.
"Initially the Registry contains two Formats to express ContextObjects: the Key/Encoded- Value (KEV) Format, and the XML Format. The Committee created these to support a wide variety of applications. Further Formats could be defined, following the same rules, and registered at the request of specific communities, thus illustrating the potential of the OpenURL Framework. The initial Registry also contains a suite of HTTP(S)-based methods to transport representations of ContextObjects, named OpenURL. Three Community Profiles are included in the initial content of the Registry. The Committee created these to provide continuing support for the scholarly information community. These three Community Profiles are inspired by the OpenURL draft specification that is already in significant use within the scholarly information Community..."
Details from the Announcement
"On March 12 the NISO Standards Committee AX released for public comment the first part of the proposed OpenURL Standard titled The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services, Part 1: ContextObject and Transport Mechanisms. This document defines the general framework to bundle specific packages of contextual metadata and transport them over the network. Part 1 is available at http://library.caltech.edu/openurl/Public_Comments.htm."
Around March 17  the committee will release part 2 of the Standard, titled The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services, Part 2: Initial Registry Content. This document details the core properties that can be used in actual instantiations of the general framework. Part 2 can be used by some communities to implement an instantiation of the OpenURL Framework. Other communities may use this Part as a guideline for the definition and implementation of other instantiations.
"The public-comment period starts on March 12, 2003 and will last until April 15, 2003. The committee intends to release the Standard for trial use around April 15th. The precise date depends on comments, on the Committee's response to your comments, and on progress in developing the necessary infrastructure to support the trial use period."
"NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation."
"Founded in 1939, incorporated as a not-for-profit education association in 1983, and assuming its current name the following year, NISO draws its support from the communities it serves. The leaders of over 70 organizations in the fields of publishing, libraries, IT and media serve as its voting members. Hundreds of experts and practitioners serve on NISO committees and as officers of the association. Throughout the year NISO sponsors cutting-edge programs on standards issues and exploratory workshops on emerging topics. These discussions often lead to the formation of committees to develop new standards."
- "The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services, Part 1: ContextObject and Transport Mechanisms." Review Draft. [cache]
- Announcement 2003-03-12: "NISO Linking Solution -- the OpenURL -- Released."
- OpenURL website
- Bibliography on OpenURL Issues
- NISO Standards Committee AX description
- Comments on the review draft
- Contact: send comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about OpenURL trial implementation, contact the chair of the OpenURL committee, Eric Van de Velde.
- Committee AX Working Documents
- NISO Standards
- National Information Standards Organization (NISO) website
- See also: "Digital Object Identifier (DOI) System" - Main reference page.
- See also: Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs)