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European SR-Z39.50 Gateway


This project aims to build and operate a pilot gateway service through which users can access ANSI Z39.50 and ISO SR servers which provide on-line access to catalogues. Users' requests should be handled over widely available data networks (e.g. public X.25, EuropaNET and TCP/IP-based networks) using existing clients which incorporate the ANSI and ISO standards. Requests should also be able to be processed via e-mail. The cost recovery element of providing the service is to be investigated to evaluate the feasibility of offering a permanent service.

The project builds as far as possible on the results of the Irish project IRIS funded under the EU Telematique regional programme, and on results stemming from elsewhere. Existing software packages will be integrated to deliver the desired service.
Impact and expected results:

EUROPAGATE in effect allows two isolated factions to communicate with each other, plus giving e-mail access to interactive services.

By transparency of access, regardless of protocol, more users will have international access to catalogue and bibliographic information databases, with minimal equipment and service registration requirements.


The gateway pilot service is in process following full implementation. Most deliverables have been issued and, although two reports - one on reusable software modules and the other on setting up of the development infra-structure - are confidential, now available in the public domain are:

Current implementations of Z39.50 and ISO SR;
Z39.50 and ISO SR servers in operation;
Current developments and future trends;
Examination of existing information services and users;
Functional specifications;
An investigation of commercial, legal and regulatory issues (confidential);
Implementation of design and installation guidelines (public).
Technical approach :

The project has 3 phases: investigation, analysis and specification; design, development, and testing; pilot service and evaluation. Within the phases are 9 work-packages:

Study of Z39.50/SR client and server implementations and directory services;
Survey of existing information services and user support;
Functional specification;
Detailed design;
Identification of suitable software for incorporation into the system;
System development, integration and testing with local and remote servers;
Pilot service;
Evaluation of the service.

Information has been disseminated at several conferences and meetings throughout the Community. In addition, Internet availability was notified by e-mail to the ZIG list, to the ESRIG list and to the newsgroup.

Key issues:

The main technical issues to be explored are:

- evaluate the common set of features provided by the 2 standards;
- establish a tool to allow current separate "islands" to communicate;
- investigate the problems of a mixed OSI - TCP/IP approach.

Documentation is available from the contact below and from (PostScript format, compressed with GNUgzip), from and from gopher://


Library Council of Ireland
53-54,Upper Mount Street
Dublin 2

Participants (3)

An Chomhairle Leabharlanna
Conseio Superior de Investigationes Cientificias
Danmarks Tekniske Bibliotek