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Weekly News Digest

October 22, 2001 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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Gale Adopts SFX OpenURL Standard for Linking Databases

Gale Group ( has announced that it has adopted the SFX OpenURL standard, a technology that links databases to one another at the document level no matter what their source. SFX is available in Gale's InfoTrac databases.

"SFX is a significant milestone in the evolution of electronic reference because it addresses a fundamental problem with electronic databases: They operate independently of each other. A library may have developed a great research collection using a variety of vendors' databases, but if they aren't tied to one another, their value is significantly diminished," said John Barnes, Gale Group's senior vice president of product management. "SFX allows for comprehensive, integrated electronic solutions."

SFX ( was created by Ex Libris (, a worldwide supplier of software solutions for libraries and information centers. More than 35 customers worldwide have chosen SFX, including ProQuest Information and Learning, ingenta, and EBSCO. Using SFX, libraries can define the rules that allow them to create links that integrate their information resources regardless of who hosts them. SFX links are context-sensitive and configure based on the institution's e-collection. Context-sensitivity prevents dead links—users are presented with only those links to information available within the library's collection.

According to Ex Libris, SFX is setting the standard for OpenURL link servers. OpenURL is a de facto standard and is now on a fast track to NISO standardization. (See The OpenURL Web site can be found at The OpenURL specification can be found at

According to the announcement, Gale's development and expansion of its periodical databases has been a key growth strategy for the company. In addition to technological improvements such as SFX, Gale's periodical content has increased. Since January 2000, Gale has added more than 1,000 new newspapers and magazines to its collection of periodicals. Well over 7,000 periodicals are now available through its products; more than 3,000 are full text.

Sources: Gale Group and Ex Libris

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