(Frequently Asked Questions)
What is SFX?
SFX (an acronym for "Special Effects") is an innovative context-sensitive reference linking product based on the openURL framework originating from research carried out by Herbert Van de Sompel at Ghent University in Belgium and at the LANL Research Library in Los Alamos. It is now owned and being further developed by Ex Libris and has been licensed by the Max Planck Society (MPG) as an ideal tool for the "intelligent" integration of the various reference databases, library catalogs, full text repositories and other scientific information resources available to MPG staff and guests at over 80 sites in Europe.
SFX allows users to start with an item of interest found in one information resource ("Source"), view a menu of additional options ("Services") related to that item available via other information resources, and then directly access the selected resource ("Target") at the appropriate level. For examples and general information about MPG/SFX Services see below; for more detailed technical information on how SFX works see http://www.exlibrisgroup.com/sfx_faq.htm.
How do I use SFX?
Many information resources you are using (e.g. library catalog, reference database, etc) should have been "SFX-enabled", thus you should see the MPG/SFX button at the full record level or within particular data fields. If you already have the bibliographic information for the reference you are interested in, you might also use the Citation Linker to directly retrieve the relevant MPG/SFX Services. The exact location and size of the SFX buttons may vary slightly from one information resource to the other, but will usually look similar to the following example:
What services can SFX offer me?
Currently, MPG/SFX Services may offer you any of the following options:
Please note that implementation of SFX linking technology within the Max Planck Society is an ongoing process. The services that can be offered for a particular item are dependent on the metadata the producer and/or provider of the information resource can supply, the ability of the target resource to accept and correctly process a specific request sent by the SFX Server, and the definition and implementation of appropriate services by the responsible information specialists. Additional services may be added as they become available.
Who may use SFX?
When an information resource is being accessed from within any authorized location of the Max Planck Society, all appropriate MPG/SFX Services will be functional for all users. When connecting to the same information resource from a location outside the registered IP-ranges (if permissible) MPG/SFX Services will also be presented; however, they will not necessarily be functional, since many target databases, catalogs and full text repositories restrict access to registered IP-ranges only.
Why don't I see any SFX buttons?
This could be due to several reasons:
Why is there more than one option for full texts?
Why does the number of services in the SFX Menu vary?
SFX links are created dynamically, and they are context sensitive. The services offered to you are determined by the information ("metadata") available in the record you started with, as well as by what information resources are available as targets. When you click the SFX button, the system runs through the MPG/SFX database to see what services have been considered appropriate for that particular item. Only services available will be displayed in the respective MPG/SFX Services menu. For an overview of current services, see above.
Why doesn't the Author Search in Web of Science lead to a results list?
For technical reasons it may be necesary to clear your browser's cache and to delete all cookies before accessing the Web of Science.
Why are there multiple windows?
These correspond to the level within the logical search and retrieval process. Whenever you click the SFX button, it will open a new browser window to display the MPG/SFX Services menu for a particular item. Selecting a service from the menu opens a third browser window in which all activities generated from the SFX window take place. Unless the target service also spawns additional windows, there will only be three windows open at one time. You can use "alt tab" to easily navigate among the windows for the original information resource, the SFX menu and the target service. Once you have finished with the services for one item, be sure to close the SFX window before going on to the next record. Please be aware that your session in the original information resource remains active, but may time-out if you do not return to it in due time.
Where can I get more information or help?
In many instances, your local librarian will be able to assist you further.
If you would like to have more detailed technical information on SFX, please