SilverPlatter Information has incorporated a new linking technology, called SilverLinker, into the latest release of its client/server software, ERL (Electronic Reference Library) 4.0. SilverLinker is SilverPlatter's solution for the integration of bibliographic references and the corresponding full-text articles, wherever they exist. SilverLinker enables direct access from SilverPlatter's bibliographic citation databases to the full text of Internet-available electronic journals. SilverLinker also facilitates access to full text available via local holdings (with either a summary display or a link to the library's OPAC) or document delivery suppliers (such as the British Library).
Customers will link to electronic journal services through a database of links, called the SilverLinker Database (SLDB), which contains URL links for a growing list of publisher and subscription agent partner services, including Academic Press' IDEAL service, Springer-Verlag's LINK service, Swets & Zeitlinger's SwetsNet Service, and Blackwell Information Services' Electronic Journal Navigator service. The SilverLinker Database will be available at the end of August. Trials began in June.
According to a company representative, customers who subscribe to the SilverLinker Database during the charter period, from now until the end of 1998, will have access to all links that are made available through 1999. They expect the file to grow to over a million links by the end of 1999. The subscription cost will be $1,000 for the database. The linking to local holdings information is part of the WebSPIRS 4.0 Internet gateway software (a part of ERL Release 4) and does not require a subscription to the SilverLinker Database.
"Customers will continue to negotiate licenses for full text with publishers or their agents," said Chris Martire, business development manager for SilverPlatter. "Many publishers are actively collaborating with us as they recognize SilverLinker as an enhancement of their online journals, rather than competition. In fact, full integration of online journals with secondary databases has definitely been a 'missing link' until now," she explained. "Most alternatives offer just one secondary database in a subject or none at all."
SilverPlatter does not keep track of customers' access and licensing arrangements. The SilverLinker Database contains all the links that have been negotiated by SilverPlatter. Customers are then provided with a software utility so they can disable the links to publications that they do not have arrangements to access.
Martire noted that the service offers value to customers in a number of key ways. Customers are gaining access to full text from a variety of publishers through a single search on databases they are accustomed to searching. Most importantly, the SilverLinker feature provides URL links at the article level, not just to the journal page.
Linking to full text has long been on searchers' wish lists. SilverPlatter's new offering now competes with other search services that are answering this need, including OCLC, UMI, OVID, and EBSCO. At this time, SilverPlatter does not plan to get involved in the licensing arrangements between customers and publishers or agents.
Further information can be found on the SilverPlatter Web site, http://www.silverplatter.com.