OCLC researcher Ralph LeVan helps create the next generation of Z39.50 software

Called Search and Retrieve Web/Search and Retrieve URLs (SRW/U), the new service uses the basic Z39.50 features in combination with Web technology.

Mr. LeVan has written an open source version of the software, which libraries and other organizations can download at no charge from the OCLC Web site.

"The SRW/U initiative is part of an international collaborative effort to develop a standard, web-based, text-searching interface," says Mr. LeVan.  "It is 'plumbing' that uses different mechanisms for transmitting requests and presenting data, and it draws heavily on the abstract models and functionality of Z39.50, but removes much of the complexity."

SRW/U brings the Z39.50 experience to the Web community using tools familiar to its members—Web Service Description Language, Simple Object Access Protocol and Extensible Markup Language.  It provides a basis for the Web community to solve some of their searching problems, and the potential for Web applications to access Z39.50 resources.

"Developing SRW interfaces to data repositories is significantly easier than for Z39.50," LeVan says. "This activity is a great opportunity to leverage library experience with text searching in local and distributed databases, and to provide increased interoperability with other communities on the Web."

More Information

The OCLC Research SRW/U project

SRW Home page

Ralph LeVan:

For more information:

Ralph LeVan
Consulting Research Scientist
OCLC Research

Bob Bolander
Communications & Programs Manager
OCLC Research