Open Discovery Initiative

We are pleased to publicly support the recommendations of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), with the objective of promoting collaboration and transparency among content and discovery service providers.

Ex Libris’s content operation processes and discovery service architecture are designed to not influence or present any bias toward any platform or vendor. Specifically, we adhere to the following guidelines and provide libraries configurable options to ensure that all pertinent resources are exposed and access them isn’t influenced by intentional preference.

  • Content neutrality– Ex Libris remains committed to not favor or weight any particular publisher or content aggregator over another. The ranking of search results, linking to content, inclusion of materials in the Central Discovery Index, and discovery of open access content all uphold the principles of content neutrality.
  • Non-exclusivity – Ex Libris does not have exclusive agreements with information providers, which can influence metadata management and the rendering of results.
  • Scope of data indexed – Ex Libris strives to always index comprehensive metadata (including subject headings and keywords), abstracts and full text, where these are available.

To promote transparency, and in compliance with the recommended practices published by NISO’s ODI, please find our ODI conformance checklist below:

Y/N/P Recommendation Paragraph Comment
Discovery Service Content Listings 3.3.1
P Discovery Service provides collection-level content listing for library customers. Ex Libris provides reports within its product and is working towards the format and depth required by ODI. Reports compliant to ODI will become first available at the end of 2020, with additional elements being added in 2021 and 2022.
P Discovery Service provides title-level content listing for library customers Title level reports are not currently available, with planned availability in 2021/2022.
P Distribution of metadata elements Reports are available in the desired format, with planned availability for other elements in 2021/2022.
Linking 3.3.2 See detailed description.
Y Discovery Service does not discriminate among Content Providers contributing to the service. 3.3.2 (1) Content neutrality and library choice are an important and integral part of our product offerings. See detailed description.
Y Mechanisms are offered to enable libraries to establish preferences regarding which platforms to present to users as link targets, and in what order or priority. 3.3.2 (2)
Y Discovery Service confirms with non-bias with regard to content indexed and results presented to the user. A statement in this regard is published annually. 3.3.2 (3)
Y Discovery Service uses an algorithm that is non-preferential with regard to the Content Provider for generating result sets, relevance rankings, and link order. 3.3.2 (4)
Y Link presentation associated with a given result is configurable by libraries. 3.3.2 (5)
Y A seamless link (not necessarily a full-text link) is provided from the discovery screen(s) to the A&I interface(s) utilized in the Discovery Service index. 3.3.2 (6) Primo and Summon offer libraries the option to link directly to a content provider from the discovery platform. Such links are sensitive to the users search and will appear for example if the user is searching for the content provider name or words closely associated with that provider as defined by the library. This function is called Resource/Database recommender and allows users to use the discovery interface as a gateway to other resources the library recommends, e.g. Abstracting and Indexing databases, or platforms with specialized content, e.g. for a specific topic or for a specific material type.
Y Information about link behavior changes is sent to content providers and libraries when materials changes that could impact the result set, relevance rankings, or link order of results. 3.3.2 (7) Link behavior changes are communicated to customers via release notes. It is also part of our conversations with content providers if their content is affected.
File formats and methods of transfer 3.3.3 A content submission guide is publicly available in our Knowledge Center.
Y Provides description of capabilities, limitations, and preferences regarding how content providers should transfer data to them for the most effective indexing by the discovery service. 3.3.3 (1) Content providers can transmit data via FTP, OAI-PMH, HTTP, or API; these are the preferred methods. We can also write custom code to harvest data through non-standard protocols. Acceptable data formats include XML (preferred), MARC, ONIX, JSON, text, Excel, and HTML.
For additional details, see Discovery Content Submission Guide posted in the Knowledge Center.
Y Communicates to content providers when format, schema, or transport mechanisms will have an impact on features or performance of the discovery service. 3.3.3 (2) We maintain relationships with content providers. Any changes that may impact linking behavior can and will be communicated via relationship channels, in addition to articles posted on the Knowledge Center, which is a publicly available and open website.
Y Uses mutually agreed-upon robust metadata encoding schemas. 3.3.3 (3) Prior to ingestion, we review the files for metadata robustness as part of the sample review process. We provide feedback for any schema change requests or suggestions.
Y Uses mutually agreed-upon method method and schedule for delivery of metadata. 3.3.3 (4) We accept data feeds in many different formats to support the different providers’ technical setup and capabilities. The details are described in the content submission guide. In addition, we perform an initial data review and work with the provider if any changes are required.
Usage Statistics 3.3.4
Recommendations to Support Content Providers
N Discovery Service provides COUNTER-compliant usage reports on schedule to all content providers. Ex Libris provides usage reports to providers but not in COUNTER format. We are working on changing the format to COUNTER. The first report that will become available in 2020 is the Publisher Discovery Database Report 1. We have plans for other reports to be added in 2021.
Y Discovery Service includes a referrer URL identifying the discovery service when linking to content platforms or link resolvers? If the content provider supports it, Ex Libris adds referring information to the link to the content platform. This could take a format such as sid=summon
Recommended Metrics Provided to Libraries
Y Discovery Service provides usage metrics to libraries Both of our discovery products provide extensive usage statistics via OAS (Oracle Analytics Server). More detailed information about the usage reports are available through the following Knowledge Center links:

Y Report on total number of searches per month. (1)
P Report on total number of unique visitors per month. (2) Ex Libris takes the privacy of its users very seriously and IP addresses are anonymized. Our systems do provide reports for unique sessions but not unique users. However, customers can use Google Analytics with our systems to obtain that information.
Y Report on total number of click-throughs per month. (3) Primo and Summon provide this information. On Primo this is counted with the combination of the link resolver and the links in record reports, Summon provides one report for both.
Y Report top 500 search queries for the last period. (4)
P Report top 100 referring URLs to the Discovery Service for the last period. (5) Primo provides a list of referring domains with a count. Summon will add this capability as part of the 2021 roadmap.
Open Access 3.3.5
Y Discovery Service displays the access and license indicator for all content to which it has been applied. 3.3.5 We define the open access flag in CDI as free to read according to the NISO ALI definitions. An item is flagged as open access if at least one content provider adds a flag to the metadata indicating that an item is free to read on their platform. The flag is independent from whether the library accesses the item via the Open Access platform. For example, if the library accesses an item through a subscribed resource, e.g. an aggregator database, but it was originally published as open access by a primary publisher, or deposited as freely accessible in an institutional repository, it will be flagged as open access.
Authentication 3.3.6
Y Discover Service provides mechanism to only allow certain databases to be searchable by authenticated users. 3.3.6 (1)
Y Discovery Service takes measures to ensure that certain databases are only activated by mutual subscribers if desired by the content provider. 3.3.6 (2)
Record Display 3.3.8
Y Discovery Service should be able to exclude records from merged or grouped records if desired by the content provider. 3.3.8 (1)
Y Discovery Service should be able to display the source provider of the record and their logo 3.3.8 (2)
P Records in Discovery Service should include a link back to the source provider’s platform if supplied by the provider. 3.3.8 (3)
Ranking Algorithm 3.3.9
Y Discovery Service makes available documentation that describes how metadata is generally utilized within the relevance algorithm and how it enhances discoverability. 3.3.9 Detailed documentation is available through the following Knowledge Center links:

Support tools 3.3.11
Y Discovery Service Provider provides clear channels for reporting support issues. 3.3.11 Ex Libris provides all institutions with access to a Support Portal (Salesforce) through which they can submit support cases, issues and inquiries to which we respond in a timely manner. More details on submitting support cases can be found here in the Knowledge Center.

Ex Libris continues to work toward full compliance with ODI recommendations.

  • “Y” (for Yes) in column one indicates compliance with the indicated paragraph of this Recommended Practice.
  • “P” (for Partial) indicates partial compliance for which explanatory comments should be entered in the last column.
  • “N” (for No) indicates that the content provider does not comply with the recommendation.

Information and details about CDI and linking to electronic full are available here.

About Open Discovery Initiative

Sponsored by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), the Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) aims at defining standards and/or best practices for the new generation of library discovery services that are based on indexed search. These discovery services are primarily based upon indexes derived from journals, ebooks and other electronic information of a scholarly nature. The content comes from a range of information providers and products—commercial, open access, institutional, etc.

The Recommended Practice was created by members of the ODI Working Group, which completed its initial work in June 2014 with the publication of NISO RP-19-2014. A new version of the ODI Recommended Practice, NISO RP-19-2020, Open Discovery Initiative: Promoting Transparency in Discovery, was approved and published in June 2020.

The ODI Standing Committee is now responsible for support and promotion of this work going forward. To learn more about ODI conformance, visit the Open Discovery Initiative workroom.