March 19, 2007  Vol. 10 No. 11  

AIRway Project brings together linking services and institutional repositories

Librarians and information technology professionals in Japan and the United States have developed a new way to combine institutional repositories with library linking services that could change the way researchers access scholarly information.

The development, reported in the March/April issue of D-Lib Magazine, enables library users to access locally stored research articles when they follow citations in scientific journals or indexed in databases.

For years, research libraries worldwide have been working to improve access to articles their faculty members have written by making them available in “institutional repositories.” Use of these repositories has been less than expected, partly because these local repositories are not well integrated with the journals and databases most frequently used by researchers. To address this problem, a group of libraries in Japan, including Hokkaido University and Kyushu University, started the Access path to Institutional Resources via link resolvers, or “AIRway,” Project.

OCLC Openly Informatics, developer of the 1Cate link resolver software, joined the project to provide implementation of the strategy in a production link resolver.

The AIRway team found a way to add support for OpenURL, a standard developed by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), to their institutional repository system. With technology support from OCLC Openly Informatics, they were able to dynamically incorporate the exact contents of the institutional repository into the link resolver’s pool of full-text article links.

“Researchers will be able to obtain Open Access documents easily through the link resolver even when the affiliated organization has not subscribed to the electronic journal,” said Shegeki Sugita, of the University Library at Hokkaido University, lead author of the D-Lib article.

“Until now, institutional repositories have been what I describe as a ‘Field of Dreams’ technology—libraries have built them in hopes that users and contributors will come,” said Eric Hellman, Director, OCLC Openly Informatics, and a collaborator on the AIRway project. “The AIRway Project will help make dreams of linking to these resources a reality, and can help make these repositories more successful. We hope to see the AIRway technology adopted as widely as possible.”

An article describing the AIRway Project is freely available from D-Lib Magazine.

The AIRway Project has received support from the research and development program of the “Next-Generation Scientific Information Resources Infrastructure” of the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Japan.

For more information about the AIRway project, visit the AIRway website or contact AIRway.