[Koha] Question on Z39.50 cross-format queries

Robin Sheat robin at catalyst.net.nz
Tue Aug 14 23:28:33 NZST 2012

Op 14-08-12 12:50, Manos Petridis schreef:
> That's exactly my point! Koha knows 
> a) what MARC flavor my installation is using 
> b) what MARC form each Z39.50 origin accepts requests and supplies its results in
> It should therefore be able to know "what field to pull from for the title" etc. 

It is technically feasible to have a catalogue that is a mix of UNIMARC
and MARC21, however no one has done this, probably because libraries
don't work that way in general.

> I would expect that zebra indexes the various koha tables, not the imported MARC records, i.e. works on data past the mapping phase.

I wouldn't expect that, but I'm biased because I know how it works :)
(to some degree, anyway.)

> If I understand things correctly, Z39.50 look-ups are used in koha cataloging as an aid, rather than a gospel to be strictly adhered to. 

It depends on the library. Some take it and don't look at it much, some
may spend a lot of time tweaking it.

> This is evident both in the differences between MARC records from different reputable origins - apparently all manned by skilled librarians - and by the nature of some of the information provided in query results: why do I care for example where a specific item is stored in library X, 

Items aren't stored in the MARC you get from Z39.50.

> when I'm only interested to document my own copy in my own library? Lossy conversion can be a boon in this context.

It really boils down to that no one has done this because no one who
needs it has sponsored the development :) It wouldn't be a trivial bit
of work.

> As long as standards are well defined,

Yeah, you'd think that. MARC isn't terribly well defined, it's also
quite terrible in general (e.g. mixing syntax and semantics at the same
level, and other such crimes.)

Robin Sheat
Catalyst IT Ltd.
✆ +64 4 803 2204
GPG: 5957 6D23 8B16 EFAB FEF8  7175 14D3 6485 A99C EB6D

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