Connecting to an OPAC Using Z39.50

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The Z39.50 tab in the Ares Customization Manager will allow you to set up a Z39.50 link to your OPAC. The Select Server icon contains a dropdown list of all existing Z39.50 server configurations that you have already set up for your system. Selecting an existing server entry will display the server configuration data for that server.

Creating a New Server Configuration

To create a new server resource:

  1. In the Ares Customization Manager, navigate to the Z39.50 tab.
  2. Click New and choose the type of OPAC you want to connect to.
  3. Fill in the server information in the required fields (highlighted in yellow) for your Z39.50 server. The following fields are required in order to save: NameServer TypeServer Address, and Port.
  4. Fill in other configuration information specific to your OPAC.
  5. Click Save.

The information that is pre-populated on the form is typically the default used for the type of Z39.50 server being entered. These values will be very different for most institutions. If you are unable to determine the appropriate values for any of these fields relative to your institution's Z39.50 server, contact your local Z39.50 server administrator. Be sure to get the actual Searching and Result Mapping information from the Z39.50 server administrator of the server you are adding an entry for if you encounter errors or are creating an entry for an OPAC type that did not exist.

If the type of OPAC you are creating a server entry for does not exist, choose any of the Server types. Applying this profile will insert information into the form for use as a server configuration template.

Searching Options

Each Z39.50 profile has default options for the syntax to use when searching the Z39.50 server. These are based on typical settings for Z39.50 servers of each type. Generally, you should be able to leave those settings as is, but if you notice certain searches giving errors, contact your Z39.50 server administrator for information on editing those values. The available Searching options include:

  • System Number Search
  • Call Number Search
  • Title Search
  • Author Search
  • ISBN Search
  • ISSN Search
  • Date Search
  • Keyword Author Search
  • Keyword Title Search

Result Mapping

The result mapping section of each Z39.50 server configuration determines which fields in the results are used to complete the call number, location and availability fields within the client. The default settings that appear work for the majority of Z39.50 servers, but if searches against your server return results do not fill out correct values for call number, location, and availability, you may need to change the settings within Result Mapping.

Result Mapping Type

Z39.50 holdings results are typically in either XML format or MARC format. You will need to choose one from the Type drop-down. If the format is XML, the identifier field is the tag that contains the holdings information within the results (i.e. holdingsAndCirc). These values are case-sensitive. The Call Number, Location and Availability tags would then be the tags under the identifier tag that contain those values.

If the format is MARC, the identifier is the numerical MARC field that holds the call number, location and availability information (i.e. 930). The Call Number, Location and Availability tags would then be the tags under the identifier tag that start each of those values. For example, if within the 930 fields the call number is after $h, then $h would go in the call number field. If the location is after $a, then $a would go in the location field. For either XML or MARC formatted results, you can choose between the availability tag being a value or a regular expression. If you choose the value, then the results will show whatever text is in that tag. If you choose a regular expression, then the regular expression is used to match on the value from the tag. For example, your Z39.50 server may put a 1 in the available tag if it is available and a 0 if it is not. You could have the regular expression say [1] and if it matches it would replace that value with the text from the Available Text field. If it didn't match (was anything other than 1), it would replace the value with the text from the Not Available Text field.

Multiple Option Sets and Concatenation of Values for Z39.50 Holdings Information

The value for Call Number, Location, and Availability can contain pipe characters and plus characters to create multiple result sets and concatenation of values respectively. These characters can be used together and there is no limit to the number of configurations you can specify (within the length of the configuration field in the database). Examples (example values are assuming XML holdings, but the same options are available for MARC):

  • A value of "localLocation|shelvingLocation" states to attempt to retrieve the value from localLocation and if a value is not found (or is empty) then attempt to return the value from shelvingLocation.
  • A value of "localLocation+shelvingLocation" states to retrieve the value from localLocation and from shelvingLocation and concatenate them with a space separator.
  • A value of "localLocation+shelvingLocation|someOtherValue" states to attempt to retrieve the value from localLocation and from shelvingLocation concatenated with a space separator and if a value is not found (or is empty) then attempt to return the value from someOtherValue.

Editing or Deleting an Existing Server Configuration

To make changes to an existing server configuration:

  1. Click the Select Server button from Z39.50 menu and choose the server you wish to edit.
  2. Modify the Z39.50 server information.
  3. Click the Save button on the Z39.50 menu.

To delete an existing server configuration:

  1. Click the Select Server button from Z39.50 menu and choose the server you wish to edit.
  2. Click the Delete button on the Z39.50 menu.

When you delete a server, searches where the deleted server is the only included server will be automatically deleted. If the server deleted is part of a multi-server search, the server will automatically be removed from the search and the remaining servers will be reordered.

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