Z39.50 broadcast searching and Z-server response times: perspectives from CC-interop

Macgregor, George Z39.50 broadcast searching and Z-server response times: perspectives from CC-interop. Online Information Review, 2005, vol. 29, n. 1, pp. 90-106. [Journal article (Paginated)]

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English abstract

This paper begins by briefly outlining the evolution of Z39.50 and the current trends, including the work of the JISC CC-interop project. The research crux of the paper focuses on an investigation conducted with respect to testing Z39.50 server (Z-server) response times in a broadcast (parallel) searching environment. Design/methodology/approach Customised software was configured to broadcast a search to all test Z-servers once an hour, for eleven weeks. The results were logged for analysis. Findings Most Z-servers responded rapidly. ‘Network congestion’ and local OPAC usage were not found to significantly influence Z-server performance. Response time issues encountered by implementers may be the result of non-response by the Z-server and how Z-client software deals with this. The influence of ‘quick and dirty’ Z39.50 implementations is also identified as a potential cause of slow broadcast searching. Research limitations/implications The paper indicates various areas for further research, including setting shorter time-outs and greater end-user behavioural research to ascertain user requirements in this area. The influence more complex searches, such as Boolean, have on response times and suboptimal Z39.50 implementations are also emphasised for further study. Practical implications This paper informs the LIS research community and has practical implications for those establishing Z39.50 based distributed systems, as well as those in the Web Services community. What is original/value of the paper? The paper challenges popular LIS opinion that Z39.50 is inherently sluggish and thus unsuitable for the demands of the modern user.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Z39.50, online catalogues, union catalogues, distributed searching, information retrieval, SRW
Subjects: L. Information technology and library technology > LR. OPAC systems.
Depositing user: George Macgregor
Date deposited: 06 Mar 2007
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:01
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/6464

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