April 5, 2006 - West Hartford, CT - Index Data, the premier developer of Open Source information retrieval software for libraries and their vendors, has just signed a contract with Helsinki University Library, The National Library of Finland, to develop an information retrieval target monitoring and analysis tool. This software, which is being released under the name Keystone Target Manager, will be designed to meet the specifications of the NISO draft standard Z39.92: Information Retrieval Service Description, which is based on an earlier community standard called ZeeRex.
The Keystone Target Manager will perform the following services:
- Automatically monitor a collection of Z39.50/SRW/SRU targets, maintaining statistics for availability over time.
- Provide configurable alerting services when targets become unavailable.
- Automatically gather information about the search capabilities of targets that use standard search protocols, such as Z39.50/SRW/SRU, for use in configuring IR clients of different types.
- Make the gathered information available in a software-readable form, as a database of ZeeRex (ANSI/NISO Z39.92) records. (This will enable sharing of this information via the Internet.)
Juha Hakala, Director of Information Technology at Helsinki University Library and Chair of the NISO Committee which developed the NISO Z39.92 draft standard, points out that "up to now information about Z39.50 or SRU/SRW targets has usually been discovered and documented manually, which is a laborious and time consuming process. Also, there has been no efficient means of exchanging this data among metasearch applications such as portals. While NISO Z39.92, solves the latter problem, the Keystone Target Manager will simplify the process of creating accurate target descriptions and keeping them up-to-date."
"Given the expertise Index Data has in implementing Z39.50 and SRU/SRW applications," Hakala continued, "I am confident that the service descriptions generated by the Target Manager will be useful. It will be interesting to see how quickly the IR portal vendors and maintenance agencies such as libraries will adopt this target management tool, and start sharing on a global scale the target descriptions harvested with it."
Pat Stevens, the Interim Executive Director of NISO, was delighted to learn about this agreement: "NISO thanks Helsinki University and Index Data for their collaborative work on this project," she stated. "It comes at just the right time as organizations are now looking for an effective way to implement Z39.92."
The Keystone Target Manager will be a major step forward in standardizing and reducing the costs of maintaining target gateways for metasearch services. Content providers that support standardized search interfaces, and federated search services that take advantage of this soon-to-be-released Open Source/Open Access target management service, will together be able to reduce the cost of providing federated search services to libraries. If these lower costs are passed on to libraries in the form of reduced gateway maintenance fees, libraries will be able to shift costs from access mechanisms to licensing content.
About Index Data
Index Data has been developing standards-based information retrieval technology since 1994. Library software vendors as varied as Ex Libris, Fretwell-Downing, Geac, ISACSOFT, Koha and Polaris use Index Data's technology in the software they provide to libraries. And libraries around the world, including the Library of Congress and many other national libraries, use the company's technology and services to meet demanding and sophisticated information retrieval challenges. The company's metasearch service, Keystone Retriever, is among the most advanced in the industry and is distributed under an Open Source license.