An SFX Glossary

Prepared by the CARLI SFX System Committee, 2013-2014

Access Provider

A phrase used to describe a target in SFX, for patrons or library staff not familiar with SFX


Most commonly refers to checking a box to turn on the target (where the full-text or web-based service resides), the service (which might be full-text, table of contents, etc.), and the object portfolio. Unless you activate a target, the target will not appear on an SFX menu, and titles from the target will not appear on the A-Z list. Can also refer to turning on a specific feature such as related objects or display logic rules.


Designation for targets from which libraries tend to have access to all or nothing (all object portfolios or none). The "Aggregator" yes/no flag is visible (but not  in the Edit Target window.


A method of controlled access to a resource based on the identity or location of the user. See also: EZProxy, IP, U/P.


When the weekly KB update adds new object portfolios to active targets that SFX considers aggregators, "Aggregator Settings" for the AutoActive feature mean the KB update process will activate those object portfolios automatically. Conversely, when the KB update adds new object portfolios to active targets that SFX does not consider aggregators, "Aggregator Settings" for the AutoActive feature mean the KB update process will leave the new object portfolios inactive. SFX administrators can set AutoActive to "Yes" or "No" in the Edit Target Service window, as appropriate for their subscription arrangements, to override the default behavior.


The AutoUpdate checkbox at the target service level authorizes the SFX KB Update process to overwrite local parser or parse param values with new global ones, for the target service and any associated object portfolios.

Base URL

The address of your SFX server. Database providers will sometimes request this, in order to embed links to SFX in their interface. Your base URL is unique to your instance of SFX. For most CARLI libraries the base URL is*** where *** is your library’s three letter code. If you do not know your three letter code or if CARLI does not host your SFX instance, link to an article through SFX and copy everything to the left of the first question mark in the URL.


  1. Outbound connections from SFX to a target.
  2. A count of how many times someone "clicks through" from SFX to a target (e.g., clicks the full text link in the SFX menu).

Cloud/Cloud Computing

Computing that happens remotely over a network connection to remote servers, rather than on in-house servers. It’s the modern technology equivalent of a dumb terminal's connection to a mainframe; Google Docs, for instance, is in the cloud.

Context Object

Everything SFX knows about the object the user is seeking, combining metadata from the OpenURL with information about the user's context, taken from the localized KB, and sometimes with enhanced metadata retrieved from CrossRef or other services.


A collaborative reference linking service. SFX uses CrossRef to resolve a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) into article metadata supplied by the participating publishers. For more information see the CrossRef web site. Find SFX CrossRef settings under Menu Configuration -> Proxy/CrossRef. More


Counting Online Usage of NeTworked E-Resources, a standard for the collection and formatting of usage statistics, widely adopted by the publishing community. For more information see the COUNTER website.


The SFX DirectLink feature sends the user directly to the target resource, bypassing the SFX menu. More

Display Logic

Use Display Logic to determine which services or service types should not appear in the SFX menu, based on which other services do appear. More

DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Stable identifier (URL); DOIs provide a framework for linking to electronic content (among other things). More


Electronic Resources Management

Export Tool

Use to generate custom holdings reports in .txt format, which you can open in Excel for easy batch processing. You can clean up and reload (import) the Export Tool's output via the DataLoader. You can export data for Google Scholar or PubMed LinkOut to use.


The software that opens the door between off-campus patrons and library resources. Patrons log in to EZProxy, which makes it look like they are coming from an on-campus IP address, so library resources recognize them. In SFX, find EZproxy settings under Menu Configuration -> Proxy/CrossRef.

EZProxy Config

A file on your EZProxy server that tells EZProxy how to connect to a resource, and to recognize the URLs coming in and out. Each resource will have a unique set of instructions in the config file, called a "stanza." More

Federated Searching

Technology that lets someone search multiple resources from one search interface. The searches execute in each database. This is not the same as resource discovery, which uses pre-indexed data.

global, local

Global is the shared default (of, for instance, a threshold value) supplied by Ex Libris, and Local is the customization applied by the library that overrules the Global setting.


Your library's unique implementation of SFX with settings and configurations unique to your institution. See also: Base URL

IP authentication

Almost all institutions have a unique set of "addresses" (IP numbers), which computers on campus can use. The IP authentication system recognizes any user within the institution's IP range, rather than requiring a username/password combination for access. An IP range might be expressed as 192.168.*.* or


Knowledge Base and Related Tools, NISO recommended practice

KnowledgeBase (KB)

The body of data about targets, target services, objects and object portfolios; a MySQL database provided by Ex Libris, which contains e-journal and e-book metadata. A journal title needs to be in this database and activated before an SFX menu can offer a link to its full text.

Link Resolver

The software that leads a user from a citation in a database or a search screen to a full-text article or other destination. Usually also has a journals A-Z list. A generic term for products that support linking between databases (or sources) and services such as full text providers, document delivery services, etc. SFX is a Link Resolver.

Linking Level

Describes whether SFX can build a link directly to the full text of an article ("article level linking"), to a specific issue of a journal, to a general landing page for a journal title, or just to the journal publisher's site.

Linking Parameters (L/P)

The L/P button on the Target Services screen allows you to set a username/password or other site-specific configurations for a target service.


According to the W3C, metadata are machine-understandable information for the web. OpenURLs typically include these metadata: author, article title, journal title, volume, issue, date, start page, etc. The quality of the metadata will impact the link resolution, and not all vendors provide all of the metadata elements.


A journal or e-book in the SFX Knowledgebase with an unique object ID. An object is not the same as an object portfolio. Once an object becomes associated with a target service it becomes an object portfolio.

Object Portfolio

The individual object/item associated with a specific Target and Target Service and usually paired with specific Thresholds. Example: The journal Catalyst, in the Target/database Business Source Premier, with getFullTxt service, and available thresholds 1993 to 2002. More

Open Access (OA)

Free resources provided in the interest of advancing research, or for good PR for the organization that issues the item. The target in the SFX Knowledgebase generally includes "free" or "open" in the target name. Access is not always reliable for these resources.


  1. NISO Standard Z39.88.
  2. A standardized-format URL that contains the metadata elements a link resolver uses in order to identify an object in its knowledgebase.
  3. The link (a URL) that sends metadata about a journal, book, or other item to a server that can process the data to produce a menu of full text options and other service relevant to the item. More

Discussion about the standard

OpenURL Linking

Some databases, like Gale's Expanded Academic ASAP, which contain both citation records and full text, offer two versions of linking, generally referred to as inbound and outbound. Outbound links are OpenURLs associated with a citation record, which are sent to a Link Resolver. Inbound links are generated by a Link Resolver and resolved to full text at the vendor's site.

Parse Param

Parse Param contains information that is used by the target parser to create URLs. The parse param can contain variables, defined in linking parameters, for data such as the user name and password that differ from one institution to the next. More


The source parser interprets metadata that the source sends in the OpenURL, and transforms them into an SFX request. The target parser builds the outbound link from SFX to the target, out of data elements in the OpenURL, the KB, the parse param and linking parameters. More

Perpetual Access

Rights to access to journal content after a subscription is canceled, usually limited to the years during which a subscription was active.


SEE Object Portfolio


Specifications for reports. Generate queries via the Export Tool, Collection Tool or [Statistics] Queries menu-pick.

Resource Discovery

The technology replacing federated searching: discovery layers usually search a pre-indexed dataset, whereas federated searching is simultaneous live searching against multiple databases.


Determines if a condition was met, based on a value returned by a program. CARLI SFX libraries are most likely to encounter the Z39.50 plug-in, which will (pre)search the OPAC and then display the OPAC target only if the context object can be found there.


Any in-coming connection to SFX; a user interaction that invokes an SFX Menu, usually when a user clicks the SFX icon or SFX link in a database.

[Target] Service

Options that can appear in the SFX menu. Some services are getFullTxt, getHoldings, getDocumentDelivery, getWebServices.

Shibboleth (Shib)

A single sign-on authentication system; makes it possible for members of the campus community to log in one time, and then pass through to everything else. See also Authentication


Databases (e.g. A&I databases, Google Scholar, other full text databases where the library has only partial access to content) enabled for OpenURL linking. Most sources allow you to upload an image for the link resolver button; some only allow a text link. Sources send metadata about the citation via an OpenURL. The completeness and accuracy of the metadata the source sends affect the success rate of the links that the link resolver presents to the user. More


Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative: a protocol that allows programs to “speak” to publisher sites to gather usage statistics automatically. You can upload your COUNTER files via SUSHI into USTAT.


  1. The user's destination, often but not always a full-text resource. Can be any web-based service.
  2. Links presented on the SFX menu that allow the user to get content and services.

Examples: JSTOR, EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier, ProQuest ABI Inform, ILL, Ask-a-librarian. Due to the differences in how publishers set up their web sites, linking levels vary. Some online resources can be both sources and targets. More

Target Service

Targets can be associated with various services. Examples: Full text, partial full text, table of contents, abstract/citations, ILL document delivery


HTML "boilerplate" for public SFX pages, such as the menu of services, providing structure and formatting to the variable data


  1. The actual availability of the full-text resource; for example: starting year, volume, issue; ending year, volume, issue (if applicable); the dates of coverage to which we have access for an online journal. (Local = dates specific to our institution, Global = the standard “one size fits all” dates.)
  2. List of metadata that need to be included in an OpenURL in order for a target service to appear in the SFX menu. More

U/P Authentication

Username/password, an authentication system that requires a login. Site-specific credentials for a specific database.


Web-based usage statistic management tool provided by Ex Libris. More