Z39.50 Search Profile Examples

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Ares uses Z39.50 searching profiles to let you customize your Z39.50 searching abilities. This article shows some examples of the default searching profiles for different OPACS, as well as discusses ways to change the profiles to better enable the mode of searching you would like to achieve.

Available Profiles

Ares currently supports the following OPACS: Aleph, DRA, Dynix, Geac, Innopac, Sirsi, and Voyager. These default profiles are available in the Ares Customization Manager.

Sample Profile

The following is a sample profile from an INNOPAC site:

System Number Search

@attr 1=1007 "<#SystemNumber>"

Call Number Search

@attr 1=16 "<#CallNumber>"

Title Search

@attr 1=4 "<#Title>"

Author Search

@attr 1=1 "<#Author>"

ISSN Search

@attr 1=7 "<#ISSN>"

ISBN Search

@attr 1=7 "<#ISBN>"

Date Search


Keyword Author Search

@attr 1=1 @attr 4=2 @attr 3=3

Keyword Title Search

@attr 1=4 @attr 4=2 @attr 3=3

These values are in a format called Prefix Notation. Each Z39.50 attribute is shown, along with an Ares field tag (like this: <#AresFieldTag>). When the search is run in Ares, the field tag is replaced with the appropriate word from the Ares record.

As an example, if the Z39.50 attribute for doing a title search on your OPAC is 4, then the sample from above, @attr 1=4 "<#Title>", will work. Generally, without any other search modifiers, the title search as shown will only search for titles starting with the search words. It will not by default search anywhere in the title for the title information from the field tag.

The Keyword Author and Keyword Title searches don't have field tags - they are used by the system to denote a combination of search attributes that will result in a keyword search for the author and title respectively. In the example above, the Z39.50 Position attribute (3) is modified to be 3 (any position in field), allowing a keyword search to happen.

Changing Profiles

Changing the profile is as simple as changing the entries in the Customization Manager for the selected server. You will need knowledge of your server's Z39.50 setup and profile information in order to make changes to the profile in Ares. Incorrect profiles will simply not work; they should not cause any problems on the server end.

An example of something a site may want to change is the Author Search. The default profile in Ares runs an exact Author Search - it will not search other pieces of the author to make a match. A search for "Ayn Rand" may not return the same results as a search for "Rand, Ayn". One way to fix this is to change the author search to be more like a keyword author search. Using the example above, changing the author search from @attr 1=1 "<#Author>" to @attr 1=1 @attr 4=2 @attr 3=3 "<#Author>", should make author searches more flexible.


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