Hi All,

This is a relatively cool thread by now, but blame various "xLA" conferences
and having to clean up email for weeks afterwards.

As a producer of a metasearch engine (and hence a client to all "real"
servers and also a server to our clients - all at once) I would like to put
in 2c worth for more machine readable (parseable) diagnostics.

We have to understand the diagnostics from a variety of servers (not all
Z39.50) and represent what happened to the end user in a consistent fashion.
This means that we need machine readable diagnostics so our engine can
"interpret" them and correlate with similar problems occurring in other
environments. The problems get reported individually to the user, but need
to be consistent. (So the example that started this: "fo* vs *oo" cannot be
reported variously as "unrecognized masking character", "left truncation not
allowed", "unrecognized term", etc. (Imagination may now run wild with
alternatives.)) We need to convert all into one diagnostic and present that
to the user. Thus the more specificity in machine readable form the better.

There is one other aspect of this which seems to have been missed entirely
(or is handled in some clever way I'm missing) and that is multi-lingual
forms of the user friendly text message. All the diagnostic user messages
were quoted in English, not entirely surprisingly. But we certainly, and
almost all library systems probably, have to allow for interfaces in
different languages. That includes translating the
error/diagnostic/informative messages that systems further away from the
user pass back. Language here also means "level of" language. So end users
may get a different message to staff users for the same problem. This
multi-lingualism is obviously a function of the system 'nearest' to the
user, and that is almost certainly not the Z39.50 server. So, in these
circumstance, the 'user friendly text message' becomes a bit moot. Except
that it is very necessary for the person creating the translations in the
first place and debugging their attempts.


p.s. I agree that the problem term should be returned as part of the

Dr Peter Noerr
Chief Technical Officer
Museglobal, Inc.

tel: +1 801 208 1880
fax: +1 801 208 1889
cell:+1 801 910 4912

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Z39.50 Next-Generation Initiative [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of
> Ray Denenberg, Library of Congress
> Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 1:06 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: diagnostic examples
> >  In this case, I think the
> > best we can do is to show the rejected term.
> Lacking any other suggestion, let's go with this one.
> --Ray