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Z39.50 Interoperability:. A View from the Virtual Trenches. Colorado Virtual Library. http://www.aclin.org A web gateway to 133 Z39.50 databases 128 library catalog databases Four Dublin Core databases (Soon) An FGDC node for Colorado Altogether, 16 different server brands represented

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z39 50 interoperability

Z39.50 Interoperability:

A View from the Virtual Trenches

colorado virtual library
Colorado Virtual Library
  • http://www.aclin.org
  • A web gateway to 133 Z39.50 databases
    • 128 library catalog databases
    • Four Dublin Core databases
    • (Soon) An FGDC node for Colorado
    • Altogether, 16 different server brands represented
  • A public interface to statewide interlibrary loan
networking person to person interoperability
Networking:Person-to-Person Interoperability
  • You must contact everyone who manages a Z-server in your project group, to exchange configuration information
  • Not everyone who manages a Z-server knows how to configure it!
  • In Colorado, libraries are responsible for funding (and setting up) their own Z-servers
  • “Sure we have a Z-server. The address is www.mylibrary.com”
  • “Our IT department is refusing to turn it on. They’re afraid people will hack in through our Z39.50 port.”
broadcast searching the bib 1 attribute set
Broadcast Searching: The Bib-1 Attribute Set
  • In our experience, Use attributes are interpreted pretty consistently across many server types.
  • Structure attributes are also used pretty consistently
  • Other attributes (Relation, Position, Truncation, Completeness) are interpreted variously.
broadcast searching for best results
Broadcast Searching: For Best Results…
  • If you plan to do broadcast searching across different-brand servers, you will have to do some mapping of Bib-1 attributes.
  • Some Z39.50 clients can be configured to do this more conveniently than others.
retrieval record syntax
Retrieval: Record Syntax
  • USMARC and OPAC are the most common Z39.50 Record Syntaxes for library catalog databases
  • In practice, these work great (except for holdings)
record syntax
Record Syntax
  • For non-library-catalog resources:
    • Dublin Core
    • FGDC metadata
    • Abstracts & Indexes
    • Full Text
    • etc.
  • You will want a non-MARC Record Syntax!
  • Plain Text Record Syntax
  • Easy to implement
  • Low hassle
  • Not Feature-Rich
  • Supported by many (not all) clients and servers
  • Not supported by many systems today, but will be very prominent in the future
  • Can support richer features
  • Separates content from presentation; Use XSLT for flexible formatting
for best results
For Best Results…
  • Check whether your software supports the Record Syntaxes appropriate to your project’s collections
  • If you do a broadcast search across collections that use different Record Syntaxes, will your software display results together on a page, and still look nice?
retrieval holdings
Retrieval: Holdings
  • CVL connects to 14 different types of bibliographic databases, and no two of them use the same scheme for holdings!
  • A big gaping hole where a standard should be
  • At a minimum, almost every human user who is searching for a book needs to know:
    • Where is the book? (Library institution, branch, and collection)
    • How do I find it? (Local call number)
    • May I check it out today? (Shelf status)
  • Claim: A system that does not deliver this much information to the patron will frustrate!
  • For automated resource sharing systems:
    • Essentially the same information, but in machine-parseable format!
      • Where is the book? (USMOC)
      • How do I find it? (Local Barcode)
      • May I check it out today? (Policy and Availability indicators)
opinion on holdings
Opinion on Holdings
  • There ought to be a standard
patron authentication
Patron Authentication
  • For automated Resource Sharing, you need to authenticate patrons
  • For Access to licensed databases, you need to authenticate patrons
  • Is there a convenient, generally applicable way to do this remotely?
patron authentication1
Patron Authentication
  • Emerging Standard: NCIP
  • Designed to cover many circulation-oriented services
  • Now a real NISO standard
  • Coming soon to the real world
  • Wide adoption of standards makes life easier
  • Some areas still need work:
    • Non-MARC Record Syntaxes
    • Bibliographic Holdings
    • Patron Authentication, and other automated circulation functions