LibKey FAQ for Publishers

Modified on Tue, 21 May 2024 at 03:13 PM

What is LibKey?

LibKey is a proprietary technology developed by Third Iron designed to create dynamic signposts for users in third party systems where bibliographic information is present and where it would be useful to know if the user has access to a specific article instantly without authenticating.

It does this using a combination of publisher metadata, library entitlements & authentication and a unique link building technology and article resolver.  All of these elements are also dramatically accelerated through state of the art server technology to enable most "signposts" to return information in < 100 ms allowing the creation of completely organic user experiences.

Quite simply, if you have an identifier like a DOI or PMID available, and the user is able to identify their affiliation, LibKey can determine if that PDF is available to them in a fraction of a second leading to a dynamic user experience which meets user expectations!

Third Iron has built this and a number of different tools that utilize this technology, utilized by over 1,300+ libraries in 30 different countries around the world:

BrowZine - The world's leading journal engagement software suite which allows users to browse, read and monitor their favorite scholarly journals on the web as well as on iOS and Android devices. 

LibKey Discovery - Enjoy one-click access to PDF documents, links to article in context and journal cover images from the Discovery results in Ex Libris' Primo & Summon, EBSCO Discovery Service, TDNet Discovery and more.

LibKey Link - Create a one-click to PDF experience in PubMed for your clinicians and researchers.  Easy to integrate within Library Link Out. is a landing page where your researchers can connect to millions of library-subscribed and open access articles articles using a DOI or PMID.

LibKey Nomad - Connect the library's subscription and open access content to user's as they navigate thousands of publisher pages, PubMed, Google Scholar, Wikipedia and more with this Chrome browser extension.  Non-subscribed items can be requested via ILL/Document Delivery in just one click.

Will BrowZIne/LibKey usage be included on publisher COUNTER reports?

Yes!  All article resolution is done to the publisher/aggregator site and thus these downloads will all register as downloads on that providers COUNTER report.  Third Iron provides analytics as well with downloads listed which enumerates downloads requested via a LibKey/BrowZine technology but the COUNTER report is the total number of downloads from all different access routes.  Comparing the two numbers can give you a sense of the share of access via LibKey routes versus other routes (i.e. directly showing up to the publisher site).

How does LibKey Authentication work?
LibKey is not an authentication mechanism but rather knows how to initiative the proper authentication for each of our 1,600+ customers worldwide.  This includes proxy servers, VPN systems, Open Athens, SAML and more!  Thus, users are accessing publisher content the same way they today, but doing so while saving clicks and minimizing confusion to get them from the bibliographic record they are interested in to your full text.

We have our own database/service that could be enhanced by LibKey... what does this service cost to license?
There is no license fee to use LibKey in your product.  All of our documentation is clearly laid out here and available to read immediately.  Contact us if you have questions about how this works or our like to discuss your project and we would be happy to assist in explaining how LibKey could best be integrated!