W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-zig@w3.org > September 2001

RE: ZNG dicussion

From: Jacob Hallén <jacob@netg.se>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 23:03:24 +0200 (CEST)
To: Robert Sanderson <azaroth@liverpool.ac.uk>
cc: www-zig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1010927223715.5911D-100000@valdez.netg.se>
On Thu, 27 Sep 2001, Robert Sanderson wrote:

> > Explain Lite uses an XML format to describe some administrative details,
> This is what I don't get. When there's GRS and all the rest already in the
> Z spec, why add yet another parser requirement and put Explain Lite in
> XML?

Rather than looking at Z39.50 as an isolated protocol, view it as
something that needs to fit into an environment of multiple applications.
Every library runs a webserver these days. Most libraries have a web
search interface that handles the bulk of the needs of the public. Z39.50
needs to fit in such a scenario.

Perhaps Explain isn't all that hard once you know it, but _nobody_ does in
the whole country of Sweden, while at least 3 people in the LIBRIS
Department of the Royal Library know XML rather well. They need to,
because we are running several XML based applications.

Now, our Z39.50 server does not automatically set up its explain database,
so who will do the work? Also, in all the years, none of the producers of
general purpose clients do not seem to have been able to produce a nice
self-configuring client. If I remember correctly, Dennis Lynch summed it
up as 'Explain never seemed to return just the right things' at the ZIG
meeting in Stockholm.

Explain Lite is a try to return just the right things and nothing else. If
ASN.1/BER had been easy to parse by humans, and if it had been easy to put
on a webpage, we would have used it. I think the price of an extra little
parser in the client is a cheap price for getting something that works and
can be used by a lot of people.

Jacob Hallén

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Received on Thursday, 27 September 2001 17:03:33 UTC

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