Superseded by Profile Release 2.0

December 1, 1998

revised January 20, 1999

revised January 25, 1999

Z Texas Profile:

A Z39.50 Profile for Library Systems Applications in Texas

Release 1.0


For Public Comment and Discussion


Prepared by

The Texas Z39.50 Implementors Group (TZIG)


William E. Moen, Ph.D.

School of Library and Information Sciences

University of North Texas

Denton, TX 76203

Please send comments to either: or


January 25, 1999


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction to the Profile

2. The Z Texas Project

3. Functional Requirements

3.1. Requirements for Release 1.0

3.1.1. Requirements for Searching

3.1.2. Requirements for Retrieval

3.1.3. Other Requirements Holdings Information

4. Z39.50 Specifications

4.1. Protocol Version

4.2. Z39.50 Objects

4.3. Z39.50 Services

4.3.1. Init

4.3.2. Search Attribute Set

4.3.3. Retrieval: Record Syntax

4.4. Diagnostic Messages

4.5. Conformance

4.5.1. Functional Area A: Online Catalog Search and Retrieval Functional Area A: Level 1 Searching Functional Area A: Level 2 Searching

4.6. References


Appendix A: Definitions of Requirements for Level 1 and Level 2 Searches

Appendix B: Pending Implementors Agreement--Z39.50 Keyword Searching of Bibliographic Systems

Appendix C: Open Issues/Additional Requirements/Understandings

Z Texas Profile:

A Z39.50 Profile for Library Systems

Applications in Texas


1. Introduction to the Profile

This document identifies a subset of specifications from the ANSI/NISO Z39.50 standard for use in Z39.50 client and server software to support interoperable search and retrieval among library catalogs in Texas. As explained in Section 2: The Z Texas Project, this Profile is intended as an evolving set of specifications to address distributed search and retrieval of digital resources and to assist in resource sharing by Texas libraries.

Release 1.0 of this Profile is limited in scope and addresses the basic requirements identified and discussed in Section 3: Functional Requirements. Those requirements support basic search and retrieval among and between USMARC online library catalogs.

The Z Texas Profile is intended to be aligned with the specifications being discussed for an international Z39.50 profile for integrated library systems applications. This Profile builds upon the experience of other profiling efforts addressing interoperability for library catalog searching and the development of virtual union catalogs. In particular, the following efforts informed the Z Texas Profile:

  • The ATS-1 Profile
  • The CENL Profile
  • The MODELS Profile
  • The vCuc Profile
  • Discussions surrounding the development of an international profile for searching library catalogs, and specifically, a document by Carrol Lunau and Joe Zeeman, Z39.50 Basic Searching of Bibliographic Systems: A Discussion Document.

A key component of this Profile is to characterize the types of searching required by library users. To this end, the Profile defines specific searches and how the semantics of those searches will be expressed in the vocabulary of Z39.50.

2. The Z Texas Project

The Z Texas Project is an initiative to increase Z39.50 utility and effectiveness for Texas libraries and lay a foundation for future sharing of online, digital information resources. The Texas Z39.50 Implementors Group (TZIG) has identified three Project goals:

  • To improve and broaden Texas citizens’ access to networked information resources in Texas and beyond.
  • To improve Texas librarians’ understanding of Z39.50 and their capability to acquire and set up Z39.50 clients and servers.
  • To establish one possible technical foundation for future sharing of the information assets of Texas.

TZIG, a voluntary and ad hoc group, is working on a Texas Profile that will reflect consensus on functional requirements for using Z39.50 and a set of Z39.50 specifications that can serve the State’s library communities. The Texas Profile can significantly improve Texas libraries’ use of Z39.50.

3. Functional Requirements

In developing the Profile, the TZIG first identified a set of functional requirements supported by Z39.50 implementations. The functional requirements will evolve over time as Texas Z39.50 implementors see new opportunities for distributed search and retrieval using Z39.50. This section identifies the functional requirements that informed specifications for Release 1.0 of the Profile.

3.1. Requirements for Release 1.0

The basic requirements for Release 1.0 focus on search and retrieval between online USMARC library catalogs. This reflects the makeup of the TZIG in Fall 1998; participants were primarily representatives from Texas libraries, and it is the requirements of this group that are the basis of this Release. The following sections detail the requirements for searching and retrieval identified by the TZIG.

3.1.1. Requirements for Searching

The TZIG identified several categories of searching and developed two of the categories of searching for specification in Release 1.0. Appendix A includes the Definitions of Requirements for Category 1 and Category 2 Searches. Category 1 can be considered a set of Core searches, and Category 2 can be considered a superset of Category 1 searches with addition of more specialized searches (e.g. inclusion of call numbers). Other categories of searching may be defined in the future. Specific local systems may not support all types of searches defined for Release 1.0. The TZIG considers these searches providing basic functionality that all local systems should support.

Category 1 searches include common author, title, subject searches that might be used by Patrons and Librarians. The following summarizes Category 1 searching requirements:

  • Author searches include both authorized name headings and non-authorized names
  • Title searches include full title exact match as well as keyword and phrase searching of titles
  • Subject searches include exact match of complete subject heading as well as searches for a word or group of words in subject fields
  • Keyword searches against author, title, subject, and other common access points (see Appendix C for Z39.50 Implementors Agreement for Keyword Searching of Bibliographic Systems)
  • Support for Boolean searching using AND, OR, NOT
  • Support for right truncation of search terms.

Category 2 searches include all Category 1 searches and more specialized requirements of Patrons and Librarians (e.g., catalogers, bibliographers, acquisitions, etc.). The following summarizes Category 2 searching requirements:

  • Inherits all requirements from Category 1 searching
  • Support for standard number searching
  • Support for call number searching
  • Support for searching based on date, format, language, and audience
  • Support for proximity searching.

Category 1 and Category 2 searches provide basic online catalog searching. By specifying two categories of searching, the TZIG indicates its goal to lower libraries' entry barriers for implementing Z39.50 while safeguarding interoperability.

3.1.2. Requirements for Retrieval

Release 1.0 addresses retrieval of bibliographic records from USMARC online databases. This implies very basic retrieval requirements, namely servers must return brief and/or full forms of bibliographic records in USMARC format.

3.1.3. Other Requirements

The TZIG has focused its initial attention for Z39.50 specifications on searching, but it recognizes other important requirements. Of particular interest in Release 1.0 is to address the retrieval and display of holdings information. Another area that may be developed in the future addresses removal of duplicate records when conducting multi-database searches. Holdings Information [NOTE: To be developed]

4. Z39.50 Specifications

This section identifies the Z39.50 specifications to support the functional requirements identified in Section 3.

4.1. Protocol Version

The Profile requires clients and servers to support Z39.50 Version 2 as specified in Z39.50-1995.

Open Issue:

The choice of version is currently subject to debate. For basic searching, the only place where there is an implication is in proximity searching. For proximity searching under Version 2, the Type 101 query needs to be supported. An argument can be made that we should use this Profile as leverage to push for adoption of Version 3 by all library automation vendors. Requirements for holdings information also has Version implications given the recent holdings schema development by the ZIG.

4.2. Z39.50 Objects

The Profile addresses the following Z39.50 objects by reference to registered Object Identifiers (OIDs). For information on Z39.50 OIDs, see Z39.50 Maintenance Agency.



Bib-1 attribute set


Bib-1 diagnostic set


USMARC record syntax


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