St. Louis, Missouri, USA -- August 11, 1994: The concept of a widespread "library without walls" moved one step closer to reality in recent weeks as a number of major academic and public libraries made their catalogs available via Z39.50 Servers from Data Research Associates, Inc. (DRA).
Implementation of these servers marks the first general-release product from a commercial vendor to be put into everyday, production use to provide Z39.50-based access over the Internet.
Z39.50 is a National Information Standards Organization (NISO) protocol for the exchange of information among diverse automation systems. Adherence to the standard in client public access modules of non-DRA systems allows users of those systems to search the Z39.50-compliant DRA libraries using the client PAC software. In other words, library users are now able to search remote libraries that may be running software different than the software at the local library. Even so, the local library user searches the remote catalog using the same user interface and commands to which he or she is accustomed.
Perhaps more important, the DRA Z39.50 Server supports full keyword and Boolean searches on any word in any indexed field, thus accommodating much broader access to the libraries collections or special information resources than servers that support only limited searches.
"We congratulate our customers who are leading the way toward a transparent information network for all libraries and their users," said Michael J. Mellinger, DRA President and CEO. "Z39.50 is the single most important standard today for developing such a network, and DRA is proud to be providing the tools to allow our libraries to share their resources and special skills with others across North America and around the world."
Libraries accessible on the Internet via Z39.50 server as of August 1 include North Carolina State University, Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Middlebury College, Butler University, the Cleveland Public Library, Grambling State University and the University Center at Tulsa. Several more libraries were scheduled to bring up their servers later this month.
It is important to note that DRA's Z39.50 compliance includes the proven ability to be searched by non-DRA client modules. DRA is a founding member and active participant in the Z39.50 Implementors' Group (ZIG), many of whose members have successfully tested their clients against the DRA Z39.50 Server.
The libraries thus far on-line with Z39.50 and their server addresses are as follows:
|Library||Internet Address||Database Name|
|North Carolina State University||NCSULIB.LIB.NCSU.EDU||MARION|
|University of North Carolina -Greensboro||LIBRARY.UNCG.EDU||JACLIN_DATABASE|
|University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill||UNCLIB.LIB.UNC.EDU||MARION|
|Cleveland Public Library||CLEVXG.CPL.ORG||CPL|
|Grambling State University||GOPAC.GRAM.EDU||MARION|
|University Center at Tulsa||LIB.UCT.EDU||UCTPAC|
All DRA Z39.50 servers on the Internet use TCP port 210. The official Internet Assigned Numbers Authority's (IANA) registered port designation for Z39.50 via TCP/IP.
DRA, headquartered in St. Louis, is a leading library automation systems integrator, providing its own proprietary information services software as well as third-party software and hardware, networking services and other related services. DRA systems are installed at more than 400 customer sites serving more than 1300 individual libraries worldwide.