SCOPE, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR Z TEXAS:
The Texas Z39.50 Profile Project
Texas Z39.50 Implementors Group
Revised: July 17, 2001
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ANSI/NISO Z39.50 is an international standard that makes it easier to retrieve information from local and remote electronic databases, such as library catalogs. The standard is implemented in software "clients" (used to perform a search) and "servers" (which provide access to the databases). For example, with a Z39.50 client on your local catalog, a user could search the Z39.50 servers of other libraries' catalogs. To the user it would appear as if the remote catalogs were simply extensions of the local catalog.
For optimum results, Z39.50 clients and servers must be set up with a common set of specifications, usually referred to as a "profile." The Z Texas Profile Project is an effort by volunteers from all types of libraries to develop a consensus on the Z39.50 features required to share networked information resources in Texas. Z39.50 clients and servers employing the Z Texas Profile will improve Texas users' results when searching remote library catalogs.
The initial phase of the Z Texas Profile Project
will focused on the requirements and specifications for basic search and retrieval between online USMARC library catalogs. This phase will focus on the requirements for search and retrieval from fulltext and abstract and indexing databases. Later phases of the Project will may address requirements for sharing other kinds of databases, such as those with full-text documents or images of non-commercial databases of fulltext documents. Eventually, the Profile will contain several levels reflecting increasing requirements, with higher levels building upon the specifications of the lower levels to maintain compatibility.
In addition to developing the Texas Z Profile itself, the Project has and will continue to
also develop guides for procurement and implementation and encourage the testing of the Profile specifications in actual Z39.50 client and server implementations.
*The Project will improve and broaden Texas citizens' access to networked information resources in Texas and beyond.
*The Project will improve Texas librarians' understanding of Z39.50 and their capability to acquire and set up Z39.50 clients and servers.
*The Project will establish one possible technical foundation for future sharing of the information assets of Texas.
1. Provide an ongoing, open, consensus-based, and phased development of a voluntary Z39.50 Profile for both clients and servers in all types of Texas libraries. The 2001-2002 phase will focus on the basic requirements for searching fulltext databases which do not necessarily support MARC 21.
2. Develop consensus among implementors by August 2002 on the first two levels of this functional area of the Profile. Meet with database vendors at 2002 Texas Library Association Annual Conference, to discuss the status of the document. Post a draft of the specifications to the TZIG web site by summer 2002. Hold a hearing in fall of 2002, inviting database vendors to discuss the status and functionality of the document. Present this functional area of the profile at the 2003 Texas Library Association Annual Conference.
3. Present a draft of these levels at the 2002 Texas Library Association conference.
4. Contact fulltext database vendors to let them know about this project and to invite their comments/feedback.
5. Aid in developing the Texas Virtual Union Catalog by encouraging major public and academic libraries to participate.
6. Encourage one or more libraries (and their vendors) to implement the Z Texas Profile on their Z39.50 server and/or clients by 4th quarter 2003 so that other libraries can begin testing their own client implementations of the Profile.
7. Create an inventory of Z servers in Texas. Information to be provided includes: library name, IP address, port number, database name, profile supported (if any), contact name and email address.
8. Keep the Bath Profile group and NISO AV Committee informed of our progress.
9. Promote the consensus-based Z Texas Profile for voluntary adoption by Texas libraries and educate librarians on the importance of the Profile in resource sharing.
EVALUATION OF FORMER OBJECTIVES
1. Provide an ongoing, open, consensus-based, and phased development of a voluntary Z39.50 Profile for both clients and servers in all types of Texas libraries. The 1998-1999 phase focus on the basic requirements for searching online library catalogs which support USMARC. Subsequent phases will address library catalog users' more exacting requirements (such as searching archival libraries) and searching non-USMARC databases (such as those with full-text documents or images) which may be provided by other organizations.
- Discussion list for TZIG was created to provide open and easy communication among members and to allow others who are interested to join in the discussion.
- Created Z Texas Profile; version 1.0 available April 20, 1999; version 2.0 available September 15, 2000.
- Z Texas Profile served to inform both the creation of the Bath Profile (international) and the NISO AV Committee (national/North American).
- These discussions led to an IMLS grant concerning interoperability testing for Bill Moen of the University of North Texas.
2. Develop consensus among implementors by April 1999 on the first two levels of this functional area of the Profile. Level 1 will facilitate basic search and retrieval by library patrons and reference staff. Level 2 will support the search requirements of technical services and ILL staff. Present a final draft of these two levels at TLA Annual Conference, and, if favorably received by librarians there, publish and promote Levels 1 and 2 for general use.
- Created three levels, based loosely on the needs of various types of users, within Z Texas Profile. Level 0 - public; level 1 - reference/public services; level 2 - interlibrary loan/technical services.
Presented two preconferences and one session at the 1999 Texas Library Association conference:
- Basics of Z39.50 preconference with William E. Moen, presenter
- Implementing Z39.50 preconference with Mark Hinnebusch, presenter
- Will "Z Texas" Fly? session with William E. Moen, presiding
Presented two sessions at the 2000 Texas Library Association conference:
- Z39.50: Making It Happen with Bob Gaines, Slavko Manojlovich, William E. Moen, and Scott Piepenburg, presenters
- Z39.50 in Texas: Z Texas Profile Update with William E. Moen, presenter
3. Identify and publicize by October 1998 an interim set of client and server specifications which libraries can use for RFPs which must be released before April 1999.
- See Preliminary Bid Specifications: Z39.50 Clients/Servers, September 25, 1998.
4. Develop and publicize by April 1999 selection criteria for purchasing Z39.50 clients that address the functional requirements which are not covered by the Z39.50 specifications themselves (for example, the capability of saving a retrieved record in USMARC format).
- See Z Client Software Levels, January 26, 1999
5. Encourage one or more libraries (and their vendors) to implement the Z Texas Profile on their Z39.50 server and/or clients by 4th quarter 1999 so that other libraries can begin testing their own client implementations of the Profile.
- The Texas State Library and Archives Commission was the first library to implement both the Z Texas and Bath Profiles. The automation vendor is SIRSI. Although implementation is currently complete, this was not done by 4th quarter 1999.
6. Ensure that the Z Texas Profile specifies Z39.50 rigorously enough to meet Texas libraries' requirements without creating unnecessary barriers to Z39.50 implementation by libraries or Z39.50 product development by vendors.
- Before version 1.0 was complete, the TZIG met with automation vendors to discuss the specifications proposed. Based on the meeting, changes were made to make entry easier for vendors and more beneficial for Texas libraries.
- The Z Texas Profile has been brought into conformance with the international-level Bath Profile.
7. Collaborate with international profiling efforts that address the Texas requirements, harmonizing the Z Texas Profile with international efforts to the extent possible to ensure the broadest utilization and thus cost effectiveness of Z39.50 implementations in Texas.
- William E. Moen, a member of the TZIG, was a founding member of the group that drafted and created the Bath Profile.
- William E. Moen and Christine Peterson, members of the TZIG, have been appointed chair and member, respectively, of the NISO AV Committee, which is creating a national/North American profile.
- Hosted the January 1999 Z39.50 Implementors Group meeting in San Antonio. Three TZIG members attended.
8. Promote the consensus-based Z Texas Profile for voluntary adoption by Texas libraries and educate librarians on the importance of the Profile in resource sharing.
- Volunteers for the project were gathered from a cross-section of Texas Library Association round tables and attendees of a Z39.50 workshop series given in 1998 (sponsored by Texas State Library and Archives Commission; presented by William E. Moen).
- Five sessions or preconferences have been given during the last three Texas Library Association conferences.
- Financial support for Z39.50 services is available to all academic, school, and public libraries through the Telecommunications Infrasturcture grants.
- A basic level Z39.50 client has been in process and should be available soon. It will be available to all Texas libraries at no charge.
- Articles have been written for Texas and other regional librarians:
- Powerpoint presentation, "Z39.50 and Texas," created by Cathy Hartman