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A REST-ful Web Services Approach to Library Federated Search using SRU Kevin Reiss Rutgers-Newark Law Library CALI 2005 – June 11th.

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Presentation on theme: "A REST-ful Web Services Approach to Library Federated Search using SRU Kevin Reiss Rutgers-Newark Law Library CALI 2005 – June 11th."— Presentation transcript:

1 A REST-ful Web Services Approach to Library Federated Search using SRU Kevin Reiss Rutgers-Newark Law Library CALI 2005 – June 11th

2 Wouldnt it Be Nice? If you could search all your librarys electronic and print resources from one location? If interesting distributed resources could be easily integrated with local materials for your users? If you could get at the Deep Web in a structured and simple manner? Institutional Repositories Database Content Open Access Journals



5 Project Genesis Desire to increase visibility of all library resources Provide a common search interface to a growing group of resources Library Catalog In House Digital Library Collections The Web & Academic Internet (Future) Need to use an open-source solution Cost Compatibility with emerging digital library standards Make our digitized resources programmer-friendly

6 Solution: Federated Search The SRU Protocol The Search Retrieve URL Service Implemented using open source Perl and Python Modules Search different collections and resources at the same time Provides a complimentary search interface monolithic single application search interfaces Not a replacement, but a complement Implementation of standard search and retrieval protocols can benefit: Authors Publisher Content Providers Users

7 Why Should you Care? Directors Open standards & protocols = More return on software investment Bring the Academic Internet to your users Web Developers/Masters Open protocols and standards bring down implementation barriers such as time and cost Develop customized interfaces using XML/XSLT for search and retrieval Library Technologists Improve deep web accessibility Learn about a descendent of a familiar tool (Z39.50)

8 What is a Web Service? Facilitates communication to a networked application Client requests something Server carries out the request and reports success or failure Responses and requests (sometimes) are encoded in XML Programmers embed calls to a web service as a part of a useful local application Query a online database Receive news updates Receive stock quotations

9 What is REST? REpresentational State Transfer Roy FieldingRoy Fielding A design philosophy not a protocol The fundamental concept behind the web Each URL/URI is a unique state transferred from server to client Characteristics of REST-ful web services: Always over HTTP Request: Form a URL + query string Response: Comes back in XML

10 cat Cat in the Hat

11 REST v. SOAP / XML-RPC Eric Lease Morgan classifies web services: SOAP-ful Web Services More complicated; but potentially more robust than REST Can use any sort of transport mechanism, ; SSH, telnet Encoded using the SOAP XML wrapper – W3C standard for web services Example – The Google API (incorporate Googles search results into your own program) REST-ful Web Services Serve up as arbitrary application defined XML only Transported via HTTP requests only

12 What are SRW and SRU? The Search/Retrieve Web Service and the Search/Retrieve URL Service Standard way to search any Internet information resource: Set up an SRW or SRU server (relatively painless) Accept queries & return search results For librarians – SRW/U comes out of the ZING (Z39.50 International: the Next Generation) Group Hasnt hit critical mass unlike OAI or RSS SRW is the SOAP-ful flavor SRU is the REST-ful flavor

13 SOAP-ful Example - SRW Law and Technology Journal

14 REST-ful Example - SRU Law and Technology Journal

15 Basic SRU Server Understands queries written in CQL (Common Query Language) Queries sent to an SRU server as a URL parameter Receive a structured XML response with search results Take this Result and… Format it for your users using XSLT More processing- do something else with it

16 CQL - Basics Combines two search engine traditions Simple Google-like queries Dont worry, you dont have to write a query parser Expressive and powerful but non-intuitive query languages Z39.50s query language SQL & XML Query languages Examples new jersey statutes description = governor of new jersey and description = ethics cat prox/distance=3/unit=word/ordered hat


18 URL + Parameters Test server [] inspired by an implementation by Mike Taylor Basic SRU parameters: operation – tells the SRU server what it is supposed to do (only 3 of them searchRetrieve, explain, scan) version – currently 1.1 startRecord – the first record that you want back maximumRecords – number of records you want back at any one time recordSchema – metadata format you want back The full SRU request: ecord=1&maximumRecords=10&collection=lawlib&version=1.1&opera tion=searchRetrieve&recordSchema=dc Application defined parameters, you just must let users know these are there in the documentation for your SRU server: ex: the collection parameter above


20 XSLT for Formatting Use the stylesheet parameter This allows you to specify an XSLT stylesheet that to format your search re You can have different stylesheets for different users Client side v. Server Side XSLT Browser support is unreliable Large XML documents can tax a server



23 Current Collections Electronic Journal & Databases (Titles + Descriptions Only) Law Library Website Digital Library Collections [8 Collections] Collections indexed using swish-e Library Catalog Done using the British Librarys python wrapper class for Z39.50 serverspython wrapper class Uses the python ZOOM and CQL

24 Application Diagram Harvested OAI Data Python Z39.50 Swish-e Digital Library Library Website Library Catalog SRU Server User XSL Stylesheet HTML XML Response URL Request w/ SRU Params

25 Other SRU Operations Explain Tells a programmer about your SRU Server Explain Response structure defined by the Zeerex XML DTD Z39.50 explain, explained and re-engineered in XML Fields to search Metadata sets Default Parameters for an SRU or SRW server What portion of CQL is supported Provides documentation for your SRU implementation Scan Index function Could display a controlled vocabulary for a given collection Not implemented on any SRU apps


27 SRU could Fight Search Engine Babble Consider the query urban planning law: w w g+law&btnG=Google+Search g+law&btnG=Google+Search &sm=Yahoo%21+Search&fr=FP-tab-web-t&toggle=1 &sm=Yahoo%21+Search&fr=FP-tab-web-t&toggle=1 eld_2=author&value_1=urban+planning+law&value_2=& connector_3=and& dden_3=1&x_force_carryover=&format=cover_page&qu ery=Processing...

28 To combine These Search Results… Get the query syntax and all URL parameters correct Then scrape the HTML output in order get the information on the query response Not a very reliable proposition What if you could send a query to all them using the same syntax and receive your responses back in the same format? You can using SRU

29 Imagine if… Many useful remote resources supported SRU It would be easy to bring users search results from targeted SRU-compliant resources

30 Possible SRU Applications Incorporation of content from popular indexes and resources into federated searches Subject-specific search interfaces Institutional repository content harvested via OAI or something like it Blogs Self-published works Grey literature BePress, PLOS, or SSRN

31 OAI and SRU/W OAI is a harvesting protocol (Open Archives Initiative)Open Archives Initiative Full-text search isnt an option in OAI SRU/W is a searching protocol Full-text search is an option in SRU if you want They Compliment each other You could easily search harvested OAI data via SRU Imagine if one could easily harvest court decisions via OAI….(Tom Bruce) Search for OAI data providers Registry via SRU – See the University of Illinois OAI registry

32 Potential OAI – SRU Synergy OAI Harvesters OAI Data Providers SRU Server Make Data Available Harvest and Maintain Updated Indexes of Data Search and Present Data to Users

33 Adding the Nellco RepositoryRepository Harvest the Records via OAIRecords Create a Swish config file for the harvested records Index with Swish Create an explain record & id value in our federated application for the index Make the new index a search target This is what google scholar is doing with IRs like Dspace (full-text possible)


35 Harvested Resource Results

36 What Can Libraries Gain? Improved discovery of institutional and remote resources Subject specific aggregation Especially for the Academic Internet Different entry points to collections Provide user-sensitive display of resources using XSL stylesheets We must be able to accept and deliver multiple forms of metadata in order to build scalable digital libraries - Roy Tennant

37 Federated Search Issues Ranking of search results Effective display of results To build a fully featured search interface you need: Metadata and more Metadata Simple Dublin Cores focus is discovery Doesnt represent technical information The identifier element isnt adequate for resources with multiple formats and manifestations

38 For the Future Your search engine is only as good as your data XML that parses Metadata – early and often A robust and extensible format such as METS METS provides facilities for encoding structural and technical information along with description metadata Crosswalks can be used to extract simpler metadata formats from METS for use by apps like SRU and OAI Open protocols layered on top of each SRU interface over OAI harvested metadata Institutional OpenURL resolver information applied to identifiers returned via SRU and OAI to grant user access to subscriptionsOpenURL

39 REST-ful Applications Youve Heard off RSS/Atom – The technology behind blogs OAI – The Open Archives Initiative Some Library OPACs are quasi REST-ful services See the library lookup tool by Jon Udell Sessions or cookies deployed for anonymous OPAC searches can kill the possibility for writing applications like library lookup Consider this URL: With SRU any OPAC cold be queryed in this fashion dc.title=urban planning&recordSchema=dc dc.title=urban

40 What you can do next? Demand Vendor Support for simple REST-like open interfaces Check out SRU/OAI examples SRU/OAI practical research Develop an SRU server for your own collection(s) Get involved, ZING meets in Chicago next weekZING

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