Setting up OpenURL reverse proxies

Adding a reverse proxy for OpenURL is one of the things that I considered essential when I worked at a university library; I wonder now if this is something that others do.

What’s a reverse proxy? E.g. passing all OpenURL requests to

myuniversity.ac.uk?openurlblah=blahblah

rather than to

openurl.myprovider.com?openurlblah=blahblah

It is, of course, easy to set up a reverse proxy in Apache or nginx.

Thinking back, we had some discussion about this, it wasn’t immediately clear whether we’d implement it:

Arguments for:

  • Simple, effective management of OpenURL irrespective of service provider
  • Control OpenURLs formulation & interpretation
  • Gather statistics locally
  • Simple migration between providers
  • Present users with a uniform, institutional URL

Arguments against:

  • It involves doing something that isn’t strictly necessary
  • Single point of failure
  • Increased dereferenceĀ time

I suppose I belong a generation that worried about things like this; maybe no one cares about the weird URLs and overhead of swapping them come crunch time.

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2 comments on “Setting up OpenURL reverse proxies
  1. Galen Charlton says:

    I suppose another potential advantage of setting up a proxy might be enhanced patron privacy: by manipulating X-Forwarded-For, the patron’s IP address need not be immediately exposed to the resource provider. It would also allow enforcing HTTPS-only, at least at the point of the reverse proxy.

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