Z39.50 is a protocol that is responsible for retrieving bibliographical data via a network. It was developed by the National Information Standards Organisation or NISO. This protocol allows a user to make information requests to other computers on the same network, even if they have a different manufacturer and don’t use exactly the same protocols, they can communicate.
Technipages Explains Z39.50
As long as both computers are connected to a network, either user can use the protocol in order to parse a request in the form of a query. This request is then sent to the other computer, where the information is retrieved and sent to the person who asked. This does require the use of an application that is compatible with the Z39.50 protocol. Said protocol is specifically designed in order to be able to phrase queries in a way that they can be transferred to the second machine and retrieve information there.
It’s worth noting that this only applies to one type of information – bibliographical information stored in a database. This could be something like the library card catalogue of a public library, but it doesn’t have to be – anything that follows a similar format will do. Originally, the Z39.50 protocol was developed in order to allow Internet apps to retrieve data from IBM mainframe computers, which at the time, were the only ones that could host databases of that type.
Common Uses of Z39.50
- Z39.50 is a protocol designed in 1998 and supported by the NISO that developed it.
- The Z39.50 protocol is still in use – it is used and maintained by the Library of Congress for its systems.
- Z39.50 is considered a pre-web technology, and while it needs a network to work, no Internet connection is needed for it to work.
Common Misuses of Z39.50
- Z39.50 is the name of a type of protocol used to communicate via the www.