On May 7-8, there was a NISO Metasearch Strategy Meeting held in Denver,
Colorado.  Several people on this list were in attendance.  At that
meeting, SRW/SRU was mentioned as being "very close to the optimal
solution" for a search and retrieval protocol.  At least an XML solution
was desired, and folks seemed willing to take a closer look at SRW/SRU to
see if it was appropriate (or if desired enhancements could be made).

(FYI, a _metasearch product_ is one of the portal products that are so
popular right now in the library community -- e.g., AGent, Chameleon
iPortal, ENCompass, iBistro, iLink, MetaLIB, MetaStar, WebFeat, ZPORTAL,
among many others.)

It was suggested that SRW/SRU had one serious shortcoming where
metasearching was concerned . . . "while seeking to simplify or
eliminate some of the complexities of Z39.50, the notion of
searching multiple databases has been dropped . . . if the
databases were free this would be true, but the reality is that
each one has revenue and royalty related business rules associated
with it and must be distinguished from the query."

There was also a desire for more result-set and record metadata.

The outcome of this strategy meeting was a recommendation that NISO
form several working groups.  One of them was to develop "long-term best
practices for search and retrieval".  Seems to me that this would be a
good "fit" for ZNG.

If SRW/SRU is to become the recommended search and retrieval protocol
for these products, we need to invite metasearch product vendors
and data providers to the table.  Perhaps opening up the discussion
list would be a good first step.

Larry E. Dixson                    Internet:    [log in to unmask]
Network Development and MARC
   Standards Office, LM639
Library of Congress                Telephone: (202) 707-5807
Washington, D.C.  20540-4402       Fax:       (202) 707-0115