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

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

From: Robert Sanderson <azaroth@liverpool.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 14:12:00 +0000 (GMT)
To: Mike Taylor <mike@tecc.co.uk>
cc: <www-zig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0202221356340.27288-100000@gondolin.hist.liv.ac.uk>

> 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.

I disagree entirely. (  Especially about non MS Operating systems :)  )
Explain Lite is woefully inadequate and needs rewriting from the ground
up.  It demonstrates fundamental lack of knowledge about the way XML
works, and can't describe any non trivial Z servers.  See:


For a more complete discussion, schema/dtd/etc, email me.

Note Well: My initial reaction is to follow -the standard- and use Explain 
proper.  As this is not likely to get anywhere, the only other option IMO 
is to have something that does all of explain's job but can be put into a 
normal Z39.50 searchable database.  

> (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 :-)

So does the nuclear bomb. Doesn't mean it's something we should use ;)

We have successfully built just the system described using XplainML.

This locates servers that support the query types, how they map the query 
attributes, then fans out the searches to them.
This is just a prototype/demonstration, and still needs a lot more work, 
but it does exactly what the original post was about. In our practical 
experience, this could not be done with Explain Lite.


      ,'/:.          Rob Sanderson (azaroth@liverpool.ac.uk)
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Received on Friday, 22 February 2002 09:15:29 UTC

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