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All objects in the repository are referenced by PURLs. A "basic" PURL should always resolve to the item in context. This is typically a "detail page", showing a copy of the item with surrounding metadata and/or navigation. A PURL may specify a particular rendering of an object (e.g., a large-sized image). For more information, see the page on PURLs.

Resolution of PURLs follows this process:

  1. A PURL is requested by a web browser.
  2. The OCLC PURL Server redirects to the appropriate location:
    • Objects in the central repository are redirected to the repository PURL Resolver.
    • Objects hosted by other systems are redirected to those systems.


Below is an example using the Hohenberger collection. Starting with a PURL like this:

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The OCLC PURL server will redirect to (linebreak added for readability):

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Note that the PURL Resolver can take either the entire PURL or only the ID portion as an argument. The PURL Resolver will then look up the correct Fedora object in the SRU server and redirect to an appropriate rendering URL, in this case the DLSearch application.