Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Information Retrieval Using a Middleware Approach

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Information Retrieval Using a Middleware Approach

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the use of a mediator/wrapper approach to enable the search of an existing library management system using different information retrieval protocols. It proposes an architecture for a software component that will act as an intermediary between the library system and search services. It provides an overview of different approaches to add Z39.50 and Search/Retrieval via URL (SRU) functionality using a middleware approach that is implemented on the BISIS library management system. That wrapper performs transformation of Contextual Query Language (COL) into Lucene query language. The primary aim of this software component is to enable search and retrieval of bibliographic records using the SRU and Z39.50 protocols, but the proposed architecture of the software components is also suitable for inclusion of the existing library management system into a library portal. The software component provides a single interface to server-side protocols for search and retrieval of records. Additional protocols could be used. This paper provides practical demonstration of interest to developers of library management systems and those who are trying to use open-source solutions to make their local catalog accessible to other systems.

INTRODUCTION

Information technologies are changing and developing very quickly, forcing continual adjustment of business processes to leverage the new trends. These changes affect all spheres of society, including libraries. There is a need to add new functionality to existing systems in ways that are cost effective and do not require major redevelopment of systems that have achieved a reasonable level of maturity and robustness. This paper describes how to extend an existing library management system with new functionality supporting easy sharing of bibliographic information with other library management systems.

One of the core services of library management systems is support for shared cataloging. This service consists of the following activities: a librarian when processing a new bibliographical unit first checks whether the bibliographic unit has already been recorded in another library in the world. If it is found, then the librarian stores that electronic records to his/her local database of bibliographic records. In order to enable those activities, it is necessary that standard way of communication between different library management systems exists. Currently, the well-known standards in this area are Z39.50 (1) and SRU. (2)

In this paper, a software component that integrates services for retrieval bibliographic records using the Z39.50 and SRU standard is described. The main purpose of that component is to encapsulate server sides of the appropriate protocols and to provide a unique interface for communication with the existing library management system. The same interface may be used regardless of which protocols are used for communication with the library management system. In addition, the software component acts as an intermediary between two different library management systems. The main advantage of the component is that it is independent of library management system with which it communicates. Also, the component could be extended with new search and retrieval protocols. By using the component, the functionality of existing library management systems would be improved and redevelopment of the existing system would not be necessary. It means that the existing library management system would just need to provide an interface for communication with that component. That interface can even be implemented as an XML web service.

Standards Used for Search and Retrieval

The Z39.50 standard was one of the first standards that defined a set of services to search for and retrieve data. The standard is an abstract model that defines communication between the client and server and does not go into details of implementation of the client or server. …

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