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Bath Profile – 4 years on A perspective of Z39.50 and the Bath Profile from a commercial systems provider. 8 th July 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Bath Profile – 4 years on A perspective of Z39.50 and the Bath Profile from a commercial systems provider. 8 th July 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bath Profile – 4 years on A perspective of Z39.50 and the Bath Profile from a commercial systems provider. 8 th July 2003

2 Contents Background and drivers Technical factors Development factors Customer factors Bath is a good thing Profiles, Profiles everywhere Stability Conclusions

3 Background and drivers UK public sector has more or less accomplished internet networking in the last 2 – 3 years. Examples: Peoples Network local authority services going on line central government going on line UK government has established: E-GIF – Government Interoperability Framework eGMS – Government Metadata Standards UK Government strongly promotes join-up of services These are drivers behind public sector spending

4 Technical factors There is a bombardment of standards and specifications in all areas: Z39.50, ISO-ILL, XML, SIP2, NCIP, DC, OAI, EAD, ISAD(G), SPECTRUM, etc etc etc Until recently Z39.50 has been more or less unknown to the public sector: Few projects – eg, CoEast Not easy to explain to non-technical staff Not easy to explain to IT networking and security staff

5 Development factors Z39.50 commands a relatively small percentage of corporate product scope. More or less everything in the library has standards involved. Most have a higher exposure to staff and public than Z39.50: Cataloguing, circulation, peripherals, barcodes, e- commerce, web, RFID, etc etc Z39.50 receives a proportional degree of development effort in the corporate portfolio.

6 Customer factors Z39.50 in the public sector is driven by: Authorities/organisations who are undertaking cross-domain portal products to serve their communities Often, Z39.50 is one of several protocols being used Increased use of interlending models using virtual catalogues Indirectly driven by increased demand for real- time information

7 Customer factors Applying profiles often has logistic issues: Public facing search systems are often simpler in design for users, but frequently include more complex functionality than provided by Z servers: fewer search criteria, sorted data, term processing – synonyms, stemming, thesauri The data can often be awful from a standards perspective with little scope for improvement The data is sometimes created with a view that only staff would ever use it

8 Bath is a good thing… Z39.50 is complex and needs initiatives like Bath to set a common basis Surely Z39.50 is Z39.50 is Z39.50….. Bath gives an opportunity for scope of specification in procurement exercises Bath gives implementers a practical scope of implementation… …. possibly too complicated.

9 All those profiles… ONE profile (1997) Models profile family (1997) CENL profile (1998) Z-texas profile rel.1, rel.2, (2000) CCF profile (2000) ONE-2 profile (2001)

10 … not to mention Specialised profiles for extended services Other national profiles (Norway, Denmark, Finland etc.) Profiles for specific sectors: Museums, digital collections, thesauri, cultural heritage, geospatial etc.

11 … and… Bath Profile first draft (1999) Second draft (2000) Version 1.1 (2001) Version 2 (2003) In essence – way too many ?

12 Take-up and Stability Take-up of the Bath profile is relatively disappointing From my perspective: Are implementers seeing the moving goalposts and waiting for stability ? Currently waiting over 3 and a half years ! Procurement exercises often just cite Bath profile and leave room for manoeuvre Do suppliers lose business on grounds of lower specification Z39.50 support ?

13 Practicality example A recent search of the library systems in the London boroughs exposed many issues where Bath compliance would be difficult: Different cataloguing practice Records inherited from previous systems Indexes mapping to unexpected fields Little scope for improvement without costs

14 Practicality – cross searching Cross Domain searching (area c) potentially imposes difficulties to the type of data that is there: Eg, many databases are provided in small relational databases where it is not possible to cite do not truncate as per the profile. Some data does not have the relevant data elements to search on.

15 Practicality – issues Profile could be improved in terms of practical application specific factors; eg: Operators/operands Record content Recognition of XML schemas Start with realistic specifications

16 Conclusions Some parts of the profile may be beyond the practicalities of implementations – where the cost of conformance is difficult to justify Customers often find it difficult to see what its all about ! Quite often the fact that their data is on line at all is a major achievement

17 Conclusions Stability is key to take up Cross-search systems are increasingly searching Z39.50 and non-Z39.50 systems: Introduction of new standards (eg OAI) Proprietary Web services Lower common denominators The search and retrieval part is just a part of the application – other parts of products are equally as important The Google factor

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