W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-zig@w3.org > February 2002

Re: SV: Z39.50 on the web (and in print)

From: Mike Taylor <mike@tecc.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 13:36:05 GMT
Message-Id: <200202221336.NAA23717@wells.tecc.co.uk>
To: hdahl@inet.uni2.dk
CC: www-zig@w3.org
> Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 13:40:32 +0100
> From: "Henrik Dahl" <hdahl@inet.uni2.dk>
> 
> Can't you try to elaborate why the most of this stuff can't be
> solved simply using the already existing Explain Facility as the
> list on page 32 of the standard seems to cover most of these
> aspects?

As Ashley and Rob also pointed out, yes, these are problems which
Explain was meant to solve.  But as Rob went on to say, no-one
actually _does_ Explain.  It's a tragedy, but there it is.

(For extra credit: "Explain failed because for most servers there was
no obvious business case for implementing it.  We must avoid falling
into this trap again with things we design in the future."  Discuss.
:-)

So what now?  I always thought it was a shame that the Explain-Lite
people reinvented that wheel instead of just getting on and
implementing Explain Classic.  But, for whatever reason, it's done
now; and I'd guess there's at least as large an installed base of
Explain-lite servers as there is of Explain servers.

The obvious way forward, then, is for us all to swallow our
computer-scientific objections and jump aboard the Explain-lite
bandwagon, pausing only to cast a swift regretful glance back at
Explain Classic as it gets dumped in the same bin as Betamax and,
maybe one day, non-MS operating systems.

Here's what I think we should do: someone should get a hold of the
XML-Lite DTD (http://www.bibsys.no/z/explainlite.dtd) and extend it
with the sort of "soft" metadata we're talking about.  They should
define a an Explain-lite Proxy mechanism like Rob's been talking about
for Explain, so that one server can advertise a lot of its friends.
And we should start to build some serious lists.  Let's crack this
one!

(To be clear: I'm not arguing that Explain-lite is a perfect
solution.  I'm not even saying it's a _good_ solution.  But it's one
that has the very useful property of actually existing :-)

Normally, this is just the kind of nice little self-contained project
that I like to pick up and run with, but I am too tied up with ZOOM
for the moment to even consider getting involved in something like
this.  Anyone?  (Remember Rule Number One of the ZIG: if you want
something to happen, you have to do it.  :-)

 _/|_	 _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor   <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>   www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Our users will know fear and cower before our software!
	 Ship it!  Ship it and let them flee like the dogs they
	 are!" -- Klingon Programming Mantra
Received on Friday, 22 February 2002 08:36:08 UTC

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