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What libraries need -- Why ZNG

From: Stevens, Pat <stevens@oclc.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 22:50:55 -0400
Message-ID: <E5431CF93E29F9478878F623E5B9CE98020D2789@OA3-SERVER.oa.oclc.org>
To: www-zig@w3.org
Unfortunately, I can't attend the ZIG next week.  So, I wanted to share my
views on the need for ZNG or something like it.

In my job at OCLC, I have spent a good deal of time the last two years
talking with librarians about their needs in today's fast-moving climate.  I
have identified three areas that standards like Z39.50 can be helpful.

1)  As Sebastian has stated quite clearly, libraries need Z39.50 to support
cooperation and resource sharing among themselves.  National and regional
governments are interested in facilitating resource sharing because it
enables them to maximize the dollars they spend on libraries, a core
cultural asset.  This is a business-to-business relationship solely among

2)  As Thomas Place of Tilburg commented, libraries also want 'to give
integrated access to scientific information sources' and other network
resources not under their direct control.  An increasing amount of library
budgets are being spent on licensing electronic resources which reside
somewhere else on the network.  This is BtoB with the library as the service
manager, and Information Provider as supplier.  

The providers do not have the same interests as librarians and they don't
have government funding as an inducement. It would seem that since libraries
are the buyers in this relationship that they would be able to set the
standards for access. For complex reasons, that doesn't seen likely to
happen.  Integration approaches that are easier to implement could help make
this integration possible.

3) Libraries would like to help users seeking information elsewhere on the
Web aware of the print and electronic resources available through the
library.  They would like to help users accessing search engines and other
online resources like encyclopedias to find related information that their
library can provide. In a similar fashion, university libraries want to
integrate library resources into online curriculum management.

This is the reverse of case 2 as the library is the provider and the other
party is managing the service.  Libraries must offer access methods that
allow service providers to use familiar tools and technology if they are
going to be successful in integrating library information into other

I believe that ZNG or something like it can help with all three cases, but
it seems necessary to achieve what libraries need in case 2 and case 3.  I
believe that there are other communities besides libraries with related
needs that a ZNG-like protocol could help, but I can only speak specifically
about libraries.

I wish you all a fruitful and productive discussion -- wish I could be


Pat Stevens
Director, Product Planning and Strategy
email:  pat_stevens@oclc.org
phone: 614-764-6406 
Received on Friday, 28 September 2001 22:50:58 UTC

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