[Yazlist] Newbie questions: Client Application

Heikki Levanto heikki at indexdata.dk
Fri Jul 14 10:55:43 CEST 2006

On Fri, Jul 14, 2006 at 10:29:48AM +0200, Finston, Laurence wrote:
> My impression so far is that the use of Z39.50 is extremely complex,
> and while there's a lot of information available, it's hard to find
> introductory material.  Could somebody point me to some? 

How about 

It is about the "zoom" bindings to the Z39.50 protocol, which should
hide most of the complexities. 

> In particular, I'm having a problem finding information about the PICA
> format used by the library system whose records I'm trying to read
> (GBV = Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund = Common Library Network in
> Germany).  

I don't know the term PICA, but your question sounds like it would be
some (local?) variant of the MARC records. Have a look at 
Some times you can ask your server to provide the records in different
formats. Many of them support xml as an alternative. It is probably just
the same field numbers and tags wrapped in xml tags, but might be easier
to handle.

> I hope this final question isn't considered off-topic:  I've been
> wondering whether learning how to work with Z39.50 is a marketable
> skill.  It seems that it's still in use at many libraries all over the
> world, and it's so complex that you can't just learn it in an
> afternoon.  For the present, I'm just working on a client, but I may
> need to set up a server.  It would be nice to know that I was learning
> something that might lead to employment in the future.

Any skill is marketable, if you find the right audience. The audience
for Z39.50 skills is fairly narrow (libraries, library system vendors,
etc.), but it does exist. I bet most readers on this list use some
Z39.50 stuff in their daily work.



Heikki Levanto    heikki at indexdata dot dk   "In Murphy We Turst"

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