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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 11 JUN 1998

Project Number and Title
2062 - European SR-Z39.50 Gateway
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ II Theme 9 January 1994 March 1996 27
European SR-Z39.50 Gateway; OPAC

blue bullet Additional information is available from the EUROPAGATE web site . (

Retrieval function - Interconnected OPACS (Theme 9)
Project description
This project aimed 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 had to 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 also had to be able to be processed via e-mail. The cost recovery element of providing the service was investigated to evaluate the feasibility of offering a permanent service.
The project built 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 were integrated to deliver the desired service.
Technical approach
The project had 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 explored were:
  • 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.
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 operation following full implementation. All 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).
Documentation is available from the contact below and from (PostScript format, compressed with GNUgzip), from gopher:// and from .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Main Library - University College Dublin IE - DUBLIN 4 IRL
Title, First Name, Name Mr. S. PHILLIPS Address: Belfield
Tel: +353-1 706 77 77 Fax: +353-1 283 76 67
E-mail 1: E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Danmarks Tekniske Bibliotek DK P
An Chomhairle Leabharlanna IRL P
Consejo Superior de Investigationes Científicas ES P

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