Check Availability with OpenURL

During your research, you collect bibliographic information for relevant sources in Citavi. At some point, you will want to borrow the books or make copies of individual journal articles you've found. You'll have questions such as "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. An IP address is somewhat like a telephone number; based on the first few numbers you can identify a company.

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 the full text of an article.

To use OpenURL, you need to find out whether your library has an OpenURL resolver and what the URL or "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.

How to Enter a Base URL in Citavi

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

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, 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.

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:

For "Techies": how an OpenURL is generated

An OpenURL comprises the following components:

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