StandardANSI Z39.50

Sponsor:  Library of Congress (LOC)

Description:  Z39.50 is an international standard for distributed searching across a network of independent metadata repositories.

Relationship to Records Management:  Quick and easy discovery and access to documentation is of the essence of effective records management.  Metadata is necessary to facilitate retrieval as well as to establish the context of records.

Problems/Issues/Weaknesses:  Z39.50 is perceived as a "library" standard.  It was designed to facilitate searches of card catalogs so as to be able to identify intermediaries who could be contacted to obtain the desired information.  The emergence of full-text search engines on the Web has called into question the need for intermediaries and the utility of the library paradigm.  However, so long as direct, online access is provided to the underlying documentation itself, the value that librarians (and records managers) add to the process can be magnified through the metadata that they may supply, expand, or enhance for querying.

Closely Related Standards: X.500, SQL, LDAP, DASL and DMA

Links to More Information:

Library of Congress Maintenance Agency page for International Standard Z39.50

Freedom's Just Another Word ... for Metadata: Knowledge Management and Discovery via DASL, Z39.50, X.500, and the

The Z39.50 to X.500 Gateway Prototype

Please convey corrections, updates, or suggested enhancements in this summary

Back to FIRM Standards Summaries Index