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

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

From: Mike Taylor <mike@tecc.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 15:47:26 GMT
Message-Id: <200202221547.PAA27243@wells.tecc.co.uk>
To: quinn@indexdata.dk
CC: www-zig@w3.org
> Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 15:55:38 +0100
> From: Sebastian Hammer <quinn@indexdata.dk>
> Take the proposed F&N service, now. What is the business case for a
> server owner to implement F&N, much less keep an up-to-date list of
> other servers?  Exactly zero. By definition, he already knows his
> friends and neighbours.  It may be that national agencies (like the
> LOC) might see a point in offering a F&N service as part of their Z
> server... but surely the average library or public office could care
> less.

"*could* care less"?!

> The result would very easily be a few sparsely populated islands of
> servers grouped by project, consortium, or software base which point
> to eachother -- sometimes. There'd quikly be a whole host of dead
> links and worse, links to irrelevant servers or test systems.

Doesn't matter.  The same is true of the web, but it doesn't stop
google, does it?  It just ignores the dead ends and follows what links
it can.  Remember, it just takes _one_ good link into a "sparsely
populated island" and it's on the mainland.  That's the magic of
distributed systems like the web (and F&N) -- there's no one point of

And there's even better news --

> I see at least two different sources of reliable target databases
> with varying levels of quality. One, national bodies interested in
> library interoperability (something for which there *is* a business
> case) have an interest in maintaining up-to-date lists of important
> Z39.50 servers. Second, companies like ourselves and BookWhere have
> an interest in maintaining lists to serve our own needs, or those of
> our clients.

Fantastic.  So LC's and Index Data's server can both have huge F&N
lists and will provide either (A) great start points for google-like
spiders, or (B) wonderful fan-outs when spiders that start elsewhere
happen to stumble across them.

What could be better?

If history has taught us anything, surely it's that a vague, ill
disciplined, unstructured, decentralised mess like the web has far,
far higher survival potential than something "better".  F&N is the
way!  Let's do it!

(Jaded observers might feel that today I am full of random, unfocussed
energy in search of something to be enthusiastic about.  There may be
some truth in that.  Still, this is a good plan.)

 _/|_	 _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor   <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>   www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "To see thee more clearly; love thee more nearly; and follow
	 thee more nearly" -- a traditional prayer.
Received on Friday, 22 February 2002 10:47:28 UTC

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