Checking Availability Using OpenURL

During your research, you've amassed the bibliographic information of relevant literature in Citavi. Now you want to borrow the books or make copies of individual journal articles. Does my university library have a copy of the book? If so, can I borrow it? If not, is an interlibrary loan possible? Does my library subscribe to a printed or electronic version of the journal containing the article I am looking for? If not, can I obtain a copy from a document delivery service or interlibrary loan?

OpenURL can help answer these questions by linking to usable resources. Generally speaking, universities or employers subscribe to the necessary services. Whether you are entitled to access these resources is usually authenticated by IP address, although other methods are possible.

hmtoggle_plus1 How Does OpenURL Work?

OpenURL is a method to generate a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) with the bibliographic information. Citavi relays your query to your library's OpenURL link resolver. The link resolver uses the bibliographic information contained in the URL to search the library catalog and other resources and services that are available to you.

For example, you might find the information for a journal article in a database. You can use OpenURL to see if you have access to a full text of an article.

To use OpenURL, you need to find out whether your library has an OpenURL resolver and what the "base URL" is. Citavi already contains the base URLs of many libraries. If your library is not included in the list, ask a librarian for the necessary information.

hmtoggle_plus1 How to Enter a Base URL in Citavi

  1. In the Reference Editor  on the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Switch to the OpenURL tab.
  3. If you know the base URL, enter it in the Base URL field and then continue with step 5. If you want to use a predefined base URL, click Base URL.
  4. From the list, choose the Country and then the Library running the OpenURL resolver.
  5. Click OK.

hmtoggle_plus1 How to Carry Out an Availability Search With OpenURL

  1. Make sure that the base URL of your library's OpenURL resolver appears under Options.
  2. In the Reference Editor , switch to the reference whose availability you want to check.
  3. On the Reference menu, point to Check availability and find full text, and click Check availability with OpenURL.
  4. Citavi loads the results in your Web browser.
  5. You'll be taken to the linkresolver page for your library and you will see your search results and additional services, if any are offered.

hmtoggle_plus1 Rarely Needed: How to Define Which Parameters to Use to Generate an Open URL

  1. In the Reference Editor  on the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Switch to the OpenURL tab.
  3. Select the checkboxes for the parameters you want to include in the OpenURL.

hmtoggle_plus1 OpenURL and SFX

More often than not, you will see the term and logo SFX used instead of OpenURL. When you click the SFX icon that appears next to a database or catalog entry, you can view additional services. You will only see the services that are offered by your institution. These options could include the following:

  • Full Text available via – the full-text article is available online through your library
  • Holdings in – a list of libraries that own the book or journal
  • Order a copy of this article from – this option allows you to purchase a copy of the article if the full-text article is not available for free online
  • Reviews – this option allow you to search for book reviews in online booksellers and search engines such as Amazon, BookFinder, and addall
  • Author / Citation Analysis – this option allows you to search for an article by a certain author in Web of Science, where you can see how often the article was cited and by whom
  • Search for related information in Google Scholar – search by title or author in Google Scholar
  • Search for related information in a Web Search Engine – search by title in various search engines
  • Journal Info – view information about a journal, such as the publisher, frequency of publication, subscription prices, etc.
  • Reference – export bibliographic information directly to Citavi or EndNote.

hmtoggle_plus1 For "Techies": How an OpenURL is Generated

An OpenURL comprises the following components:

  • The base URL, which identifies the link resolver (required)
  • Information about the compiler of the OpenURL (optional)
  • The query string containing the bibliographic information (required).

The following OpenURL is made up of the base URL of the Free University of Berlin link resolver ( and the author, year of publication, ISSN, etc.: date=2005&epage=1048&issn=0033-2941&issue=3&pages=1044-1048&spage=1044& title=Student%20information%20literacy:%20psychometric%20validation%20of%20a%20self-efficacy%20report&volume=96