Introduction to bX Interoperability

General Purpose

The bX Recommender Service is designed to process lookup and recommendation requests from external clients. This bX introduction section explains general aspects of using the bX Web services.

Product Version Compatibility

Version 1.0.

Interface Type

General Material


The following methods of authentication are used by the bX system:

  • Programmatically by license key, institution ID, and encryption
  • IP


With the successful completion of registration, bX generates and sends a license key (encrypted) that you use to initiate bX services. When you initiate the bX services with the license key, the system generates an institution ID that becomes your permanent identifier for authentication purposes.
The institution ID (encrypted) is a component of each client request submitted to bX. The client is authenticated when the institution ID provided in the request is unencrypted and determined to match the institution ID located in the bX database.
The encrypted institution ID may be passed using one of the following methods:

  • As a URL parameter using the token key (see bX Lookup Service and bX OpenURL Service)
  • In the authorization HTTP header using HTTP basic authentication with the encrypted institution ID as the name portion of the credential and no password.


As part of the bX registration process, you are able to configure bX with one or more IP addresses. To access bX, the requesting client IP needs to be known to the bX firewall.
For more information regarding IP configuration, refer to the bX Registration Guide on the Ex Libris Documentation Center.

Resource Matching

When the Lookup Service or Recommendation Service contains an OpenURL, bX uses multiple matching algorithms to determine whether the resource exists in the system. Multiple algorithms are employed to address the vendor/publisher differences in the creation of OpenURLs.
In general, the more OpenURL elements provided, the better. Ideally, it is best to send elements such as DOI, PMID, or Article Number that are guaranteed to be unique. Ensuring the presence of rft.atitle (article title), rft.spage (start page), and rft.issn (ISSN) also helps support better matching.
Different matching keys are used by different resource types. For example, a journal title is not a match point for book resources.
It is essential that bX be able to derive the genre from the OpenURL. Otherwise, no recommendations are even attempted.


To enhance processing of incoming Recommendation Service requests, bX utilizes a recommendations cache. It pre-calculates and caches recommendations for each resource in the database.
The results are intended to be reused and are considered valid for a system-defined number of days. After this period of time, they are considered expired.
If the resource is not found in the cache, the recommendations are subsequently calculated dynamically.