Information for Librarians

Librarians: How the OpenURL Router links users to the correct resolver

The Router identifies the user's institution and links the user to the resolver at that institution. The institution is identified in one of four ways:

UK Federation
The UK Federation "scope" (institution identifier) can be passed to the Router. This is the best method, but it is only possible for services that are aware of the institution to which the user belongs (usually because the user has logged in).
IP address
The IP address of the user's computer can be used to identify their institution if the user is on campus or using an identifiable web proxy. The IP address is always available, so is particularly useful when the referring service lacks a UK federation login.
Domain name
Domain names can be used in the same way as IP addresses. Because this uses the definitive DNS data it can be easier to configure than IP address checking (if your IP address ranges are complex), but it does require that the user's computer is correctly DNS registered.
WAYF (Where Are You From)
A 'Where Are You From' page is presented to the user. The user selects their institution from a list, and this is remembered throughout the session – for all of the online services that the user accesses.

Future developments

We plan to implement identification mechanisms for other methods of authentication/authorisation used in future.

What about users from institutions that have no resolver?

If a user's institution can be identified, but that institution has not registered a resolver at the user is given a choice of open access resolvers.

Does this mean the OpenURL Router gives the whole world access to your resolver?

The OpenURL Router enables service providers to discover that you have a resolver, but it does not confer any access rights. Most OpenURL Resolvers do not have acess restrictions, but if you choose to implement access control then this will not be affected by the Router.


OpenURL is a Jisc-sponsored service, and is administered jointly by EDINA.

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