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Library Information enquiry and Referral Network


The electronic enquiry and referral service for European libraries is based on the ISO 9594/CCITT X.500 Directory standard. The concepts and feasibility of the service will be defined and evaluated during a pilot operation using business as a subject topic.

The project will develop a pilot enquiry and referral service between 3 library communities in Portugal, UK and Belgium. The services and architecture of LIRN will be studied and defined. Information regarding the subject of business will be held in a distributed data base in the X.500 format.
Impact and expected results:

Libraries and, increasingly, industry are looking for cost effective electronic information services. The pilot clearly demonstrated that a reliable, pan-European, international, multilingual business information service is a commercial proposition.

That LIRN would, for the first time, give pan-European access, rapidly and definitively, to business data is a very exciting development in the electronic information services market.


The pilot as a working system is now deliverable. Reports now available in the public domain are:

X.500 feasibility;
Directory and DUA specifications;
Thesaurus techniques;
Services and architecture;
International language aspects;
Network connections report;
Object classes and attribute types in the X.500 DSAs.

Still to be delivered are:

Pilot system report;
Evaluation methodology report;
Training materials report;
Operating handbook;
User information guide.
Technical approach:

There were three consecutive phases in the project: definition, implementation and evaluation. These were further sub-divided into workpackages covering:

X.500 feasibility;
Directory specification;
Location of information sources in each of the three countries;
Identification of data capture and thesaurus techniques;
Identification of national business communities;
Definition of services and systems architecture;
Network connections;
Linguistic aspects;
DUA development;
Installation and test of directory systems in each country;
Data capture;
Thesaurus development;
Interface development;
Directory database build;
System test;
Pilot and evaluation.

Key issues:

The main technical issues to be explored are:

- Experiment the use of X.500 directories for libraries;
- Validate the use of standards for international interconnection;
- Foster expertise in communication standards by putting together experts in telecommunications, libraries and business partners.

A catalogue of business information sources, a business thesaurus and the pilot evaluation report are restricted deliverables.

Public documentation is available from the contact below and from and from and also from

Call for proposal

Data not available

Funding Scheme

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E1 9RL London
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EU contribution
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Participants (4)