We’ve been grappling with OpenURL here at City, partly as a result of work being done at LSE (see comments in addition to the main post which give useful context), where I used to manage the repository. A little healthy rivalry never hurt anyone!
We wanted to make sure that repository users are able to reach the published versions of research as quickly as is possible, even though we’re currently associating full text with (nearly- see below) every record. To this end, we include DOIs in every record that has one, meaning that people can click through to the published article.
Where an OpenURL resolver comes in handy is by extending the concept of discovery-by-DOI above to query whether your home institution holds the article in question, then if it does to send you directly to the published version of that article. We’ve now configured this so it works for any UK institution. In other words, you can run an OpenURL query via an ePrint record, and it will check against any OpenURL-enabled holdings at UKHE institutions.
By way of example, if you go to this record, hit the tools button at the top of the record, and hit the “Find a copy” button, you will be able to find out if your institution has access to the journal Language Learning and Development for the year in question (in this case 2010). If it does, you will be able to click through and (after logging in) see the published version of this paper.
Why, you might ask, does this matter if all of City Research Online’s records have full text associated with them? There are a few reasons why it might be a useful feature, I think. First, you might wish to compare the open access version of a paper with the published version. Second, you may come across a record which is still under a publisher’s embargo period and is hence not available from the repository, but you still wish to access it. Third, it may be the case in future that we open up the repository to non-full text citations, in which case discovery of items away from the repository (via DOI or OpenURL) becomes much more important.
Finally, a note on getting repository material into our OpenURL holdings. If we were to do this, it would mean that we would enable click-throughs from citations databases (e.g. Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science etc.) using “Find this article” (or similar) buttons, making material in the repository more discoverable. To do this, we need to track repository holdings, something that our OpenURL tracker can’t currently do. However we have one or two leads on this, so watch this space…