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OpenURL is an industry standard way of encoding resource metadata into a URL. Ares OpenURL is installed and functional as a part of the standard Ares Server installation and can be used in the Ares client and through the web pages.

  • Requesting items from the web pages via OpenURL: If your Ares web pages are functional and Ares OpenURL is functional, generally no further installation should be required.
  • Submitting requests from within the client: Using the Submit via OpenURL button, staff users can submit requests to external systems via OpenURL.

Configuring Ares Requesting from Your Electronic Resources

While the Ares side of OpenURL is functional immediately, in order to allow instructors to request materials from your electronic resources, you will need to configure your OpenURL system to create a link to Ares. 


The following target will need to be added into the OpenURL system at your institution: https://YourAresServerName/ares/ares.dll/OpenURL (example:

The Ares OpenURLMapping Table

The OpenURLMapping table is found in the Ares Customization Manager under Web | OpenURL. It is pre-seeded with a setup that should work with most default OpenURL systems. If you need to change the behavior of how OpenURL interprets certain fields or genres, this is where you can make those changes. The OpenURLMapping table consists of the following fields:

IDThe order number of the OpenURL mapping items.


This field has a default value of Default. Currently this is the only value
accepted. If you wanted to have separate mappings available based on the
version of OpenURL being used, you could force that to happen by adding
entries for a specific OpenURL Version. With the flexibility of the
OpenURLFieldValue field below, this functionality isn't used in the default
setup. You should rarely if ever need to change the value for this field from
Default, but an example of the value for OpenURL version 1.0 would be
"Z39.88-2004". The value is one that's passed from the source database
through OpenURL and may vary.


This field has a default value of Default and rarely should need to be
changed. If you wanted to have separate mappings available based on the
source of the OpenURL link, you could choose to set that up here. For
example, if you want the default request that comes in from FirstSearch
without a Genre to be a Book, and you want the default request that comes
in from Ovid without a Genre to be an article, you can set different rfr_id
settings for each one.

Note: If you decide to specify an rfr_id value for a particular source and
AresFieldName, you will also need to specify a corresponding URL_Ver
value. In addition, if you specify one rfr_id value for a particular source
and AresFieldName, you must also specify that same rfr_id for all other
AresFieldNames in the table. This value is one that your OpenURL source
provider can help you find, should you need to make this change. An
example of the value from FirstSearch: info:sid/
. This value also gets stored in the CitedIn field in Ares if it is
passed over OpenURL (with the info:sid/ part removed).

Ares Action

Converting a URL to an Ares item

The AresAction field can have 3 values: Replace, Substitute:genre and

  • Replace. This field corresponds to the Ares field to store the OpenURL
    information that is sent via the OpenURL link. The Ares field represented
    in the AresFieldName field is replaced with the data from the
    OpenURLFieldValues field. For example, if the AresFieldName is set
    to Edition, the OpenURLFieldValues is set to <#rft.edition>.
  • Substitute:genre. The only valid AresFieldName is RequestType. This is
    used to set the RequestType and the request form to use in Ares. The
    OpenURLFieldValues field equates to the genre returned by OpenURL
    (article, book, conference). This field can also have the value of default,
    which matches any genre not specifically listed. The AresValue field has
    two parts separated by colons: RequestType:HTMLRequestPageToUse. 
  • Substitute:rft.genre. This tag does the same thing as the prior Substitute:
    genre tag, but is used for OpenURL version 1.0. It is recommended that if
    you add a new genre, you add entries for both Substitute:genre and

Building a URL from an Ares item

The AresAction field can have 3 values: ReverseSubstitute:genre,
ReverseSubstitute:Format, and ReverseReplace.

  • ReverseSubstitute:genre.  This action maps an item's ItemFormat field
    to an OpenURL genre. By default, mapping for the item formats article,
    book and bookchapter are supported. The Submit via OpenURL button
    in the client is enabled only if an item's ItemFormat is one of the values
    in this table.
  • ReverseSubstitute:Format. Using the OpenURL genre, Ares then looks
    at the entries in this action to determine which fields from an item should
    be included in the OpenURL request.
  • ReverseReplace: Ares uses these entries to map the ReverseSubstitute:
    Format item fields to their OpenURL equivalents.

Ares Field Name

The Field name that will be populated by the values from the
OpenURLFieldValues field.

Open URL
Field Values

For AresAction = Replace. This field has tags that are replaced with
OpenURL information from the OpenURL link. Tags are in the format
<#tagname>. Other text is allowed, so in the case of an Author's Name, you
can separate the last name and first name with a comma and a space.
Finally, you can have separate OpenURL values assigned to the same Ares
field. This is useful for handling different OpenURL mappings that end up
going to the same Ares fields. You can separate these values with a pipe
character (|). When Ares sees the pipe, it interprets everything up to that
point in the expression. If if it has no values for the OpenURL fields up to
that point in the expression, then it continues and uses the next expression.
If it already has a value, then it ignores everything after the pipe. You can
have as many pipe/field value combinations as you need.

Some examples:

  • This example uses Author field name. The FieldValue has 3 parts. If the
    first part, <>, has a value, then that is what is sent back to Ares. If
    not, then Ares looks at the second part: <#rft.aulast>, <#rft.aufirst>
    <#rft.auinitm>. If any part of that has a value, then it is used. If not, then
    Ares uses the last expression: <#aulast>, <#aufirst> <#auinitm>.
  • Another example of how Ares handles both the old and new OpenURL
    versions together is PubDate. If Ares sees the new tag, <> then it
    uses that, if not, it uses <>|<#date>.

In either case, if none of the OpenURL values are returned, then Ares puts
no value into the field.

For AresAction = Substitute:genre or Substitute:rft.genre. The
AresFieldName is equal to the OpenURL genre field (article, book, book
item, etc.). This can also be a value of "default" which will be the default genre.

Ares Value

This actually includes two values, separated by colons and only used with
AresAction = Substitute:genre or Substitute:rft:genre. The first value is
the Ares RequestType: serial or monograph. The second value is the Ares
HTML page for OpenURL to use for that genre (IRFOpenURLArticle.html,

Linking from the Ares Client to another OpenURL System

You can configure Ares to send requests from the Client to another OpenURL system such as ILLiad. 

The OpenURLDestinations Table

The OpenURLMapping table is accessed in the Ares Customization Manager. If a site has placed values in the OpenURLDestinations table, they can send a request from the client to any external system to be filled (including ILLiad) via OpenURL. Ares will build an appropriate URL from the citation info in Ares, send it to the external system you select, then forward the Ares Item request to the status designated in the table.

The OpenURLDestinations table can have multiple entries for the external systems you may want to use. The OpenURLDestinations table consists of the following fields: Destination, DestinationURL and Destination Status.


The name of the external system.

Destination URL

The OpenURL formatted URL for the external system.

Destination Status

The status queue that the Ares Item request should move to when
the request is sent to the external system.


To include ILLiad in your OpenURLDestinations table, the Destination value must be ILLiad and the DestinationURL value would be the OpenURL formatted URL of the ILLiad server: http://your.illiad.server/illiad/illiad.dll/OpenURL. The Destination Status would be Awaiting ILL Processing.