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ZNG  January 2008

ZNG January 2008

Subject:

[COMMERCIAL] New SRU/W/Z39.50 service

From:

Sebastian Hammer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sat, 19 Jan 2008 15:47:26 -0500

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Hi guys,

I hope I'll be forgiven this arguably crass commercial post -- but I am 
hoping people will agree it has some neat implications for things you 
can do with open IR standards on the client side, and that it makes for 
an interesting additions to the SRU landscape.

I think this should be exciting news for many users of our Z39.50/SRU 
toolkits, as well as anyone who builds end-user applications based on 
open IR standards.

In collaboration with CARE Affiliates and WebFeat, we have created a new 
service, called OpenTranslators, which essentially provides access 
through Z39.50 or SRU/SRW to any database supported by WebFeat's  
database translators. Through this technology, we can provide access to  
more than 9,000 databases, including commercial abstract/citation 
databases and reference services, the vast majority of which don't 
presently support open standards, this vastly increases the number  of  
resources that you can access through standards-based information 
retrieval protocols. This functionality is offered as a 
subscription-based, hosted service; you simply contact our friends at 
CARE Affiliates and let them know what databases you're interested in, 
and they will prepare a quote for you. You can roll your own user 
interface, either using SRU or SRW directly, or perhaps by using our 
tools, such as the YAZ toolkit or our new Pazpar2 metasearch middleware.

I'm thrilled about this offering. Pushing content providers to support 
standards has long been an uphill battle; for many of the small, but 
interesting database providers, it simply isn't possible. This 
technology allows us to dynamically search these resources, through  
whatever user interface we can imagine, without having to worry about 
building and maintaining complex gateways for each database. We will 
continue to encourage database providers to support standards, but in 
the meanwhile, this service provides a migration path -- a way to start  
building new, exciting interfaces *today*. It is our hope that this in 
turn will lead to more interest in standards, and more database 
providers actively supporting this.

I don't mind saying that this solution also addresses one of my deep, 
long-term beefs with the present metasearch market. Traditionally, 
database gateways have been hidden behind closely held proprietary APIs, 
and generally each vendor has painstakingly developed their own set of 
gateways. This practice has set the bar of entry into the market very 
high and has effectively stifled competition. It has also meant that 
resources that could have otherwise been expended on innovation and 
better user experiences have instead been wasted on redundant database 
connector development. Our interest is in developing new, exciting 
applications, and supporting others who are coming up with cool stuff 
and new services.

We see this service as a huge boon to open source software developers of 
next-generation library applications, because it eliminates a major 
stumbling block in the provision of library-oriented search services. We 
also view it as an exciting move for the standards community, because it 
vastly increases the number of resources that can be searched using SRU, 
SRW, and Z39.50.

More information is available at http://indexdata.com/news/#2008-01-08 .

Enjoy!

--Sebastian

-- 
Sebastian Hammer, Index Data
[log in to unmask]   www.indexdata.com
Ph: (603) 209-6853 Fax: (866) 383-4485

"WebFeat" is a registered trademark of WebFeat, Inc., "WebFeat
Administrative Console", "WAC", "SMART", "WebFeat Custom",  "WebFeat
Enterprise Edition", "WebFeat Menu Manager", and "WebFeat Proxy" are
trademarks of WebFeat, Inc. OpenTranslators and CARE Affiliates are
trademarks of CARE Affiliates, Inc. Index Data is a trademark of Index
Data, LLC.

-- 
Sebastian Hammer, Index Data
[log in to unmask]   www.indexdata.com		
Ph: (603) 209-6853 Fax: (866) 383-4485

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