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An Introduction to the Search/Retrieve URL Service (SRU)

  • To articulate and draft a reference model describing digital library services

  • To propose a number of light-weight protocols along the lines of OAI-PMH as a means to facilitate

  • digital library services

  • To implement a select number of digital library services exemplifying the use of the protocols

OCKHAM proposes a number of initial services to be implemented:

  • a registry service

  • an alerting service

  • a browsing service

  • a pathfinder service

  • a search service

  • a metadata conversion service

  • a cataloguing service

Notre Dame is taking the lead in developing the alerting service -- a sort of current awareness applica- tion allowing people to be kept abreast of newly available materials on the Internet. This is how the ser- vice will work:

  • 1.

    An institution (read 'library'), will create a list of OAI data repositories (URLs) containing informa- tion useful to its clientele.

  • 2.

    These URLs will be fed to an OAI harvester and the harvested information will be centrally stored. Only a limited amount of information will be retained, namely information that is no older than what the hosting institution defines as 'new.'

  • 3.

    One or more sets of MARC records will be harvested from library catalogues and saved to the cent- ral store as well. Again, only lists of 'new' items will be retained. As additional data is harvested the older data is removed.

  • 4.

    Users will be given the opportunity to create searches against the centralised store. These searches will be saved on behalf of the user and executed on a regular basis with the results returned via email, a Web page, an RSS feed, and/or some other format.



SRU URL's will be the format of the saved searches outlined in Step 4 above. These URLs will be con- structed through an interface allowing the user to qualify their searches with things like author names, titles, subject terms, free text terms or phrases, locations, and/or physical formats. By saving user pro- files in the form of SRU URLs, patrons will be able to apply their profiles to other SRU-accessible in- dexes simply by changing the host and path specifications.

The goal is to promote the use of SRU URLs as a way of interfacing with alerting services as unambigu- ously and as openly as possible.


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