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7. REFERENCE MATERIAL
This section provides references to material used in this study and results of analysing some of the Z39.50 interfaces of CURL member library systems.
7.1 The Z39.50 Protocol
The scope and richness of the Z39.50 protocol has been recognised by other communities outside the libraries communities and the protocol is now actively in use in other areas such as Government Information services, Archives and Museums.
Whilst the protocol was under development, the implementing community focussed on the mechanics of the protocol itself. The resulting specification typically satisfied most interested parties requirements most of the time. Subsequent development and future thinking strives to maintain this approach.
Typical applications to date are search and retrieval tools for users ("clients"), and library catalogue systems which have a Z39.50 access ("servers"). If you wish to have a Z39.50 compliant system, there is a choice of either buying a new system, upgrading an existing system if the system vendor offers a Z39.50 option, or to have Z39.50 compliance developed for an existing system.
In using the Z39.50 protocol, the interoperability between a client and a server from the same supplier is more or less guaranteed, however the interoperability between clients and servers from different suppliers cannot be guaranteed because the richness of the protocol offers many options and choices. Different suppliers may choose different selections of the protocol which is appropriate to their systems. This problem is addressed through the development and publicity of technical specifications called "Z39.50 Profiles".
More recently the application context of the Z39.50 protocol has been to extend the scope of what applications can achieve. Early examples of this are to combine Z39.50 technology with Web technology, to form Web-based user interfaces to a Z39.50 service. Current examples and developments include:
distributed searching, whereby a client can concurrently search databases of more than one server;
incorporation of other library standards such as the Inter-Library lending protocol;
utilisation of the less-used parts of the Z39.50 protocol such as Update, Item ordering, and dynamic configuration of clients and servers through more complex negotiation between the client and the server.
It is the recent application uses of the Z39.50 protocol to which this study is important. From a z39.50 viewpoint, the COPAC service is a good quality version 3 system which offers a range of Z39.50 search and retrieval facilities.
7.2 Reference Material
The following reference material was used in the undertaking of this study.
|CURL, The COPAC Project Annual Report, (1996 - 1997).|
|The Tavistock Institute, User Survey and Mid-Term Evaluation of the COPAC service - Final Report, (March 1998).|
|Tuck, Bill, COPAC Inter-lending and Document Delivery, (August 1996).|
|Hartley, R.J. and Graham, M.E., Evaluation of the CURL OPAC (COPAC); a report to JISC, (October 1996).|
|Cousins, S., Analysis of Online Questionnaire Results supplied by Users of the COPAC Text and WEB Interfaces, (April 1998).|
|CURL ILL Working Party, Monographs Inter-Lending Trial - Final Report.|
|CURL Strategy Plan.|
|CURL Z39.50 Study - Invitation to Tender document.|