About the OpenURL router

OpenURL linking without the Router

Without the OpenURL Router, linking requires configuration of links between each institution with a resolver and each service provider on an individual basis.

Each institution must set up links with each of the services to which it subscribes. If the institution's resolver is changed in any way, this configuration process must be repeated. Each service provider must maintain tables mapping end-users to institutions, and each institution to its resolver.

Service providers who use UK federation or IP address-checking can build resolver configuration around the authorisation mechanism, which permits them to identify users' institutions. Services that require no authorisation (free access services) have difficulty providing OpenURL links. Without an existing mechanism to identify users or the institutions to which those users belong, the service has no means of determining the correct resolver to link to. The overheads associated with implementing a system to support OpenURL – eg IP checking – are so large that free access services are unlikely to do so. This both denies the benefits of OpenURL linking to free access services and restricts the value for money offered by resolvers, as it eliminates potential "entry points" for their intended users.


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

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