A little bit of joined up thinking some issues of convergence in our memory institutions
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A little bit of joined-up thinking (some) issues of convergence in our memory institutions. Dr. Paul Miller Interoperability Focus UK Office for Library & Information Networking (U KOLN ) [email protected] http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/.

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A little bit of joined up thinking some issues of convergence in our memory institutions

A little bit of joined-up thinking(some) issues of convergence in our memory institutions

Dr. Paul Miller

Interoperability Focus

UK Office for Library & Information Networking (UKOLN)

[email protected] http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/

UKOLN is funded by the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries (CMAL), the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Further and Higher Education Funding Councils, as well as by project funding from JISC and the EU.

UKOLN also receives support from the Universities of Bath and Hull where staff are based.


  • Convergence

  • Pros and Cons

  • Issues

  • Solving Problems

    • The Bath Profile


  • All around the world, memory institutions are merging or converging

    • Some real

    • Some in little more than name?

    • Some cynical?

RLG/OCLC work on preservation


Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries

Convergence and the user
Convergence and the user

At last…!

  • Most general users require information, rather than specific library books, museum objects, or archival folios.

    …but does claimed convergence raise hopes of a converged service…

    …and should we stop here?

Convergence and the organization
Convergence and the organization

  • Creates opportunities

    • …that institutions need to seize…

  • Potentially problematic in the short term

    • Change of language

    • Change of focus

    • Necessity to compromise long–held procedures/beliefs to enable communication

    • Standards are different

    • Greater competition for the same funding?


  • The sectors are meeting user needs

    • User focussed rather than institutionally determined

  • Potential for acquisition of new knowledge, between sectors and on the boundaries

    • Cross–domain

  • Cross–fertilisation of ideas, practices, and experience

    • Innovation and evolution.


  • It won’t happen overnight, yet expectations are being raised already

  • Need to change (some) staff perceptions

    • “It’s just too hard”

    • “What do libraries/museums/archives have in common with archives/museums/libraries, anyway?!”

    • “Over my dead body”

  • There’s a lot to do…

    …but a lot to be gained by doing it.


  • Access v. Preservation

  • Item v. copy v. collection

  • MARC v. EAD/ISAD(G) v. …

  • The notion of collection description

  • Rights/IPR very different

    Remember, though… differences can be greater between two libraries than between a library and a museum…

Solving problems
Solving problems

  • Standards often developed within a domain…

  • …but now we need new standards that break across boundaries…

    • Dublin Core

    • XML/RDF

    • The Bath Profile

Some Joined up working: The Bath Profile

  • Vendors and systems implement areas of the Z39.50 standard differently

  • Regional, National, and disciplinary Profiles have appeared over previous years, many of which have basic functions in common

  • Users wish to search across national/regional boundaries, and between vendors.

See http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue21/z3950/

Learning from the past
Learning from the past

  • The Bath Profile is heavily influenced by

    • ATS–1

    • CENL

    • DanZIG

    • MODELS

    • ONE

    • Z Texas

    • vCUC

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop–focus/activities/z3950/int_profile/bath/draft/

Learning from the past1
Learning from the past

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop–focus/activities/z3950/int_profile/bath/draft/

Doing the work

  • ZIP–PIZ–L mailing list, hosted by National Library of Canada

  • Meeting face–to–face

    • JISC supported a face–to–face meeting in Bath (UK) over the summer of 1999

  • A draft was widely circulated for comment

  • Profile presented at DC7 in Frankfurt

  • Open Concertation day in the UK

  • Discussion and feedback world–wide

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop–focus/ activities/z3950/int_profile/bath/draft/

Makx Dekkers

PricewaterhouseCoopers/ EC

Janifer Gatenby


Juha Hakala

National Library of Finland

Poul Henrik Joergensen

Danish Library Centre

Carrol Lunau

National Library of Canada

Paul Miller


Slavko Manojlovich

SIRSI/ Memorial University of Newfoundland

Bill Moen

University of North Texas

Judith Pearce

National Library of Australia

Joe Zeeman


Doing the work

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop–focus/ activities/z3950/int_profile/bath/draft/

What we proposed

  • Minimisation of ‘defaults’

    • Where possible, every attribute is defined in the Profile (Use, Relation, Position, Structure, Truncation, Completeness)

  • Three Functional Areas

    • Basic Bibliographic Search & Retrieval

    • Bibliographic Holdings Search & Retrieval

    • Cross–Domain Search & Retrieval

  • Three Levels of Conformance in each Area.

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop–focus/activities/z3950/int_profile/bath/draft/

What we proposed

  • SUTRS or XML and UNIMARC or MARC21 for Bibliographic Search results

  • SUTRS and Dublin Core (in XML) for Cross–Domain results

  • Other record syntaxes also permitted, but conformant tools must support at least these.

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop–focus/activities/z3950/int_profile/bath/draft/

Finishing it off
Finishing it off…

  • Consolidate comments, and revise where necessary

  • Direct approaches to international vendors

  • User testing in Europe and North America

  • ISO Internationally Recognised Profile status during Q2 2000

  • Addition of Functional Areas and Levels of Conformance as required

    • Community Information?

See http://lcweb.loc.gov/z3950/agency/texas/texas.html


  • Convergence is happening

  • Convergence is a good thing…

    …but requires some of us to change.