SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – June 15, 2002 –As part of a statewide “technology census,” the MuseSearch™ broadcast search tool is helping assess how the Z39.50 protocol is being used by California libraries. The Metropolitan Cooperative Library System has retained the Cherry Hill Company, a consulting and systems integration firm specializing in library applications, to test connections, configurations, and local implementations of the Z39.50 accessible catalogs. More than 140 California libraries of all types working with the California Z39.50 Interest Group or CALZIG, a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant project are included to date.
The connectivity and retrieval capabilities of MuseSearch are allowing Cherry Hill Company consultants to evaluate the differences in the way Z39.50 has been implemented in these libraries. “Although MuseSearch is marketed primarily as a broadcast search product, the underlying technology is very flexible and can be used for many applications,” comments MuseGlobal, Inc. Chief Technology Officer Dr. Peter Noerr. In this case, MuseSearch is used as the gateway to California's Z39.50 catalogs and retrieves MARC records for examination of the way local indexing has done. “The interesting situations we encountered during testing ranged from small libraries just being switched off ‘after hours', through the variability of the Z39.50 functions that were implemented, to the different ways the underlying Integrated Library Systems which manage the catalogs handle creating and searching indexes,” added Dr. Noerr.
The Z39.50 standard protocol for information search and retrieval was first published in 1988 by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). “Although it is used primarily for online public access catalogs, the standard is quite flexible and extensible. Unfortunately, that means there is a lot of variation in the way it has been implemented by different software vendors and libraries, and this inconsistency works against interoperability,” according to Cary Gordon, President of the Cherry Hill Company. Ira Bray, the CALZIG grant project monitor with the California State Library, commented “the CALZIG assessment is a step forward in improving accessibility, and reinforces our commitment to a standards-based approach to resource sharing. We look forward to the implementation of the U.S. National Profile for Z39.50 to assist in this process.” Results of the assessment will also be forwarded to Z39.50 standards groups.
This project is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library should be inferred.
About MuseGlobal, Inc.
MuseGlobal, Inc. is a technology company founded by library industry veterans with the mission of creating connectivity and communication among disparate systems. The company's flagship product, MuseSearch, has reinvented the process of information discovery and retrieval, optimizing the productivity of researchers and knowledge workers. More information is available at www.museglobal.com.
About the Cherry Hill Company
The Cherry Hill Company is a systems integrator and consultancy with more than 20 years of experience, specializing in architecting Web-based library environments. More information is available at www.chillco.com.