[Ex-plain] How to make Explain-- take off

Sebastian Hammer quinn at indexdata.dk
Tue Apr 23 23:00:39 CEST 2002

At 23:16 23-04-2002 +1000, Alan Kent wrote:

>* A web site where you could type in the host and port of your Z39.50
>server and the web site would interrogate the server and try to guess
>the attribute sets etc that the server supports. Not sure how well
>this would work in practice though. The IndexData Z39.50 tables of
>attributes says "server supports attribute if search does not report
>an error". This is not quite enough though as many sites ignore attributes
>they don't understand without reporting an error.

You can theoretically go pretty far... after all, a human with a simple 
client can learn a lot about a target by poking at it for an hour or so... 
however, there's a lot of heuristics in that process... doing it purely in 
code will be pretty darn expensive. Our list is a compromise based on what 
can be done rather cheaply. The next step up is going to be expensive. I 
would even consider moving the application off imperative programming 
languages into something more declarative, if the right language could be 

FWIW, we will make our target list available as a ZeeRex resource... 
whether people use it or it inspires someone to do more, time will tell.

>* A web site which you can point at a record somehow and get an online
>error report as to if the record is correct or not.

I'm assuming you mean something which actually tries to verify your claims 
by firing searches off your server, right? Cute idea..

>* One or more harvester implementations (simple YAZ server?) so some
>libraries can just take the software and start hosting records for other

Again FWIW, we'll try to include the ZeeRex config files with the next 
release of Zebra, hopefully just a couple weeks off now. It should server 
records in the right schema pretty much out of the box.

>* Web site that converts Explain-- records into nicely formatted text.

And an XSLT stylesheet available from the explain site to download.

>* Client applications that actually used Explain-- records.


Nice list of ideas.. thanks for that, Alan!

Sebastian Hammer, Index Data <http://www.indexdata.dk/>
Ph: +45 3341 0100, Fax: +45 3341 0101

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