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Z39.50/ODBC Gateway Products

There are a range of toolkits and other products to support a Z39.50/ODBC Gateway. Here, the Z39.50 side of the Gateway is expected to present to a Z39.50 client an Internet server interface that is compliant with the GILS Profile of  Z39.50 and capable of also being compliant with the Z39.50/GEO Profile. The Z39.50 client is often itself embedded within another search facility, such as a "Search Portal".

Here is a simple diagram of two architecture alternatives for a Z39.50/ODBC Gateway:

At the right in these diagrams, there exists a view of databases managed in a database environment that can be searched via ODBC or JDBC. The objective is to provide for a Z39.50 client on the left to be able to search that view through a GILS and/or GEO-compliant interface.

The Z39.50 service could be either embedded within the database server or implemented as an external gateway. If external, then interaction between the Gateway and the database server could use any of several protocol access mechanisms. With HTTP, one could chose alternatives such as CGI, servlets, SOAP, and others. Or, one could use the IIOP (Internet Inter-ORB Protocol) if a CORBA-style protocol is preferred.

At the database server there would be software such as a procedure in Java or other language. This would handle Z39.50 or Gateway interaction on one side and would use ODBC or JDBC on the database side.

Either in the Gateway or DB server, there must be a schema mapping function to translate a particular database schema into the standardized GILS and GEO search attributes and retrieval structures. XML could be an integral part of this solution, especially in providing generic retrieval structures.

These diagrams do not show configuration processes for the Z39.50/ODBC Gateway itself or the schema mapping. These could be implemented either as part of the database or through parameter files.

The following table lists some of the available toolkit products for a Z39.50/ODBC Gateway

Blue Angel Technologies / MetaStar SDK http:/www.BlueAngelTech.com/
Crossnet / ZedJAVA http://www.crxnet.com/wwwzedjava.html
CompusultMetaManager http://www.fgdctoolkit.com/
Fretwell-Downing / OLIB & Z'Mbol http://www.fdusa.com/products/vdx.html
Indexdata   http://www.indexdata.dk
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology / 
Structured Information Manager
http://www.simdb.com/

Products in Development

Oxford / Java Bean - Matthew Dovey has a client JavaBean for use in Java code or Java server pages. He also constructed a Z39.50 server with a pluggable architecture. In the backend of this server, Java objects handle various data sources. Matthew has built Java objects for JDBC and LDAP sources so far. Matthew also explains that his demo "is running on TomCat, a java server from the Apache community which supports Java Server Pages. The Z39.50 connection is handled by a java bean which is accessed via the JSP pages. I'm also looking into whether I can use the ActiveX bridge to embed the bean as a ActiveX control for use in ASP pages."

Other Software

For more information on other software relevant to GILS, see </software.html


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