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Umlaut is an open source project originally developed by Ross Singer while at Georgia Tech, and subsequently worked on quite a bit by Jonathan Rochkind of Johns Hopkins University. Umlaut is sometimes called a “link-resolver front end” or a “middle-tier link resolver”. In fact, the Umlaut is a link resolver, in the sense that it receives OpenURL requests–usually representing a citation for a scholarly work–and responds with information on services available related to that citation–most significantly, with electronic availability. However, unlike most typical link resolver products (such as SFX), the Umlaut does not manage
it’s own “knowledge base” of information on what titles an institution possesses from what vendors, and how to link to them. Umlaut relies on SFX–accessed through the SFX API–for that information and service.
==User Interface Flexibility==
Umlaut provides a great deal of flexibility with the user interface. Despite any changes to SFX our interface should keep working with little or no modification. It also gives us flexibility to create interfaces that would have been difficult or impossible to create solely through the SFX template system.
Umlaut still provides a ‘full’ link resolver menu too, which the user can choose to see, and which is shown when no full text is available. The menu provides location and availability information on physical holdings directly on the screen–no click necessary to see it (at least when there’s an ISSN match; if there’s no ISSN or ISBN match, a link is provided to a keyword search in the catalog instead). See http://findit.library.jhu.edu/go/
30504?umlaut.skip_resolve_menu=false for an example. It also imports any URLs found in our catalog in a MARC 856 field, in addition to those in SFX.
==Check for Public Access Versions==
To discover if an open access version of an item is available, Umlaut does an author/title keyword search of IndexData’s indexes of OAISter and Open Content Alliance freely available text.. This is imperfect because all we can do is an author title keyword search. But when it works, it’s cool.
More nearer term, additional features I want to add to Umlaut include:
==Are you interested in working with Umlaut?==
For those looking for technical details to give our Umlaut the run-through, the base url is: