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

From: Sebastian Hammer <quinn@indexdata.dk>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 01:57:40 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: Eliot Christian <echristi@usgs.gov>, www-zig@w3.org
I'm gonna stick my neck out and be a party-pooper, here, just 'cause I 
don't have a reputation to worry about. After all, I was the one who, at my 
very first ZIG meeting, stood up during Les's GRS-1 tutorial and asked, 
"must it be so complicated?". I since turned around 180 degrees and, 
inspired by Eliot, entered into a several-year long, intense and loving 
relationship with GRS-1, until the day when GRS-1 was dropped from the Bath 
profile (and from what public consciousness it might have enjoyed), 
because, as a short fellow named Andy put it, "it was just too *hard* for 

At 11:07 22-02-2002 -0500, Eliot Christian wrote:

>Go to <http://test.uddi.microsoft.com> and select "Advanced Search".
>You'll see a pull-down list for ways to constrain your search.
>Here, choose "tModel by Name" and enter "geo" as the search string.
>(BTW, a search on "z39.50" also gives interesting results :-)

It's neat.... but it's also, by all appearances, a good deal more 
complicated than Explain Classic (which is quite a feat), even if you toss 
in the ISO specification for BER just to give it some weight.

So, I can easily see how publicly funded projects could play around with 
this for awhile, but I have a hard time -- and this may just be me being 
old before my time -- imagining this solving the problems we have been 
discussing in this exuberant thread so far.. the real-world problems we're 
trying to solve are a couple of orders of magnitude less ambitious than 
placing our little Bath profile implementations in a worldwide repository 
of all possible information resources.

Remember, we're in a situation where the business case for individual 
resources to expose themselves to a directory is typically quite weak -- 
their own customers know how to find them is one reason. Perhaps another is 
that many of them are public organisations with little to gain from 
bringing wide exposure to their Z39.50 services. As we've discussed, it 
appears that the drive to register resources lie with other folks -- 
national agencies, companies, etc. Would they use something like UDDI? It 
isn't clear what, at the current level of technology, this would buy them 
-- at least not before the tools became a lot more available and friendly 

The rules would probably be different if Z39.50 *was* a mainstream 
technology that fit neatly into the types of things your desktop tools 
(read: browser) was likely to support. But it isn't, and nor have we yet 
seen a plausible, more mainstream alternative appear.

Sebastian Hammer, Index Data <http://www.indexdata.dk/>
Ph: +45 3341 0100, Fax: +45 3341 0101
Received on Saturday, 23 February 2002 19:58:49 UTC

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