St. Louis, Missouri, USA -- May 19, 1995: Data Research Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ: DRAI) today announced that it had joined the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an industry consortium run by the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. W3C exists to develop common standards for the evolution of the World Wide Web. DRA is the first library automation vendor to become part of the Consortium.
The goal of W3C is to ensure the evolution of World Wide Web (W3) protocols into a true information infrastructure in such a fashion that smooth transitions will be assured both now and in the future. "With the growing demand for extension of library automation applications into the context of the World Wide Web, membership in the W3 Consortium is a logical step forward in DRA's well-known advocacy of standards for the library community," said Michael J. Mellinger, President and CEO of DRA.
DRA has had a publicly accessible web server to access bibliographic databases, including the DRA copy of the Library of Congress database, as well as citation databases, since early 1993. During that time, several hundred thousand accesses have been logged on the DRA web server from Internet domains worldwide.
DRA Web, a World Wide Web server able to be attached to DRA's widely used Z39.50 server, is scheduled for release this summer. However, Mellinger cautioned the library community against viewing the Web as a cure-all for many of the difficulties in navigating the expanding range of information available on the Internet.
"The goal for libraries has been, and should continue to be, transparent access," continued Mellinger. "In other words, a user should not have to learn a new user interface every time he or she encounters a new database. With the current state of the Web, the user interface is determined by the information provider, not the user or the client.
"As such, libraries should look to their automation providers to offer comprehensive strategies for information access, including both Web and workstation-based client software, but also incorporating powerful server software, access to a wide range of networked databases, and the systems integration capabilities to tie together all of the various aspects of modern electronic networks for libraries.
"The library community continues to devote so much effort to the Z39.50 suite of protocols in order to achieve transparent interoperability among systems. Happily, such transparency is also a stated goal of W3C, and in fact Z39.50 is specifically mentioned as one of the protocol design areas that the Consortium plans to use as the foundation for future Web specifications. Through our own significant work in the development and implementation of Z39.50 thus far, DRA hopes to make a tangible contribution to the future direction of Web evolution, especially in the realm of library accessibility."
DRA's Home Page is accessible using http://www.dra.com/ as the Universal Resource Locator (URL).
DRA, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a leading provider of client/server based library automation systems, Internet services and other related services for libraries. The Data Research System is adaptable for use in academic, public, school and special libraries ranging from single libraries to large, multi-branch systems and consortia. Also offering the MultiLIS and INLEX/3000 systems, DRA currently has a customer base of more than 500 systems representing 1,700 individual libraries worldwide.