Ex Libris Announces bX: Usage-Based Scholarly Recommendation Service

We are very excited to announce bX — a first-of-its-kind service to provide library users with article-level recommendations based on collective usage data amassed from research communities around the world.

bX is the result of years of research and collaboration into advanced scholarly recommender systems conducted by leading researchers Johan Bollen and Herbert Van de Sompel from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The bX service derives its recommendations from the analysis of tens of millions of transactions performed by users from research institutions worldwide and captured through a large-scale aggregation of link resolver usage logs. Based on open interoperability standards such as OpenURL and OAI-PMH, bX can be tightly integrated into a library’s existing user environment.

Sixteen institutions in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia have begun testing bX and are working with Ex Libris to ready the service for public launch. Early users of bX have expressed high level of enthusiasm with the service and its premises.

Marvin Pollard of the California State University consortium said: “We view this service as an extremely important piece of the triangle of the discovery/ recommendation/ fulfillment process. This is the next ‘killer app‘ from Ex Libris and follows on the success of SFX. Just as SFX has become an essential, powerful tool in connecting our researchers to the resources they need, we are confident that bX will provide our users with the recommendations they need to support their research.”

Professor Jiang Airong of Tsinghua University Library in Beijing commented that “in today’s research environment, which is characterized by exponential growth in the volume of online resources, new tools for discovery are required, as well as new methods for evaluating scholarly material. The bX recommender service is a valuable first step for our users.”

Bob Gerrity of Boston College expressed his appreciation for the “great opportunity provided for the library to participate in the building of new, value-added services based on the analysis of user behavior. We see tremendous potential in the role of recommender services such as bX in the discovery process.”

Further commenting on the collaborative nature of the project, Sue Clarke of Australia’s Monash University noted that “the bX service is a good example of how Ex Libris is working with customers to shape and develop future directions in which the system learns from users’ searching patterns.”

“bX represents an important step toward a range of new services that leverage the collective input of the vast scholarly community as well as widely deployed library tools,” said Oren Beit-Arie, chief strategy officer of Ex Libris Group. “The bX journey started with the introduction of the OpenURL framework 10 years ago and followed with SFX, which has become the most commonly used OpenURL link resolver. Now bX mines the wealth of information contained in the usage logs of link resolvers such as SFX for the benefit of users and librarians alike. We are very excited to be working in collaboration with librarians and researchers on this important and ground-breaking library service.”


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