Library of Congress Z39.50 Gateway

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Introduction

The Library of Congress Z39.50 Gateway is a free online gateway for searching of Library of Congress (LOC) online catalogs and other online catalogs that implement Z39.50, which is defined as:[1]

a national and international (ISO 23950) standard defining a protocol for computer-to-computer information retrieval. Z39.50 makes it possible for a user in one system to search and retrieve information from other computer systems (that have also implemented Z39.50) without knowing the search syntax that is used by those other systems. Z39.50 was originally approved by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) in 1988.

A list of links is provided through this gateway to search:

  • Library of Congress Online Catalog (simple search form, advanced search form, or left-anchored phrase search form)
  • Library of Congress Electronic Resources Online Catalog (simple search form, advanced search form, or left-anchored phrase search form)
  • Handbook of Latin American Studies/Voyager Database (simple search form, advanced search form, or left-anchored phrase search form)
  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS Union Catalog)
  • Other catalogs, listed in alphabetical order, and "where applicable, the software vendor for the target Z39.50 implementation is given in parentheses after the name of the institution"[1]

When searching the LOC catalogs (except NLS Union Catalog), users have a choice of searching through three different search forms:

  • Simple Search - A basic keyword search form.
  • Advanced Search - Three keyword search forms, where the user can select search fields via drop-down menu and select Boolean operators to connect the forms. Users can select preferred record display format (Brief, Full, or Tagged).
  • Left-Anchored Phrase Search - A keyword search form where user can select from a list of fields in which to search (Title, Author, Subject, etc). Users can select preferred record display format (Brief, Full, or Tagged).

The search forms for the "Other Catalogs" all appear to be either the advanced search form or the left-anchored phrase search form. The catalog links labeled with the software vendor INNOPAC seem to use the left-anchored phrase search form, while catalogs with other software vendors use the advanced search form. The result lists for all searches through the gateway produce a list of bibliographic records on library materials available through the searched catalog, and results are in brief, full or tagged (MARC) format.


Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Gateway to Library Catalogs." LOC website, http://www.loc.gov/z3950/gateway.html. Accessed September 8, 2011.

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