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Z39.50 Protocol

Z39.50 is a national and international (ISO 23950) standard defining a protocol for computer-to-computer information retrieval. Z39.50 makes it possible for a user in one system to search and retrieve information from other computer systems (that have also implemented Z39.50) without knowing the search syntax that is used by those other systems. Z39.50 was originally approved by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) in 1988. For general information about the Z39.50 protocol, see: Z39.50
 
In the world of libraries, z39.50 is mainly used for searching for bibliographic information.
An institution’s catalog can be made searchable by external applications using z39.50 protocol. This may be required for a number of purposes — for example, if the institution serves as a copy cataloging source or participates in a resource sharing network. If a Z39.50 Server integration profile is configured, Alma listens for incoming Z39.50 searches. If an incoming request is detected, Alma returns a Z39.50 response, which includes record information in either MARC or OPAC format, depending on your client configuration..
This is illustrated in the following diagram:

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Configuring the z39.50 integration profile in Alma

In order to make your catalog searchable by external applications using z39.50 protocol, an integration profile of type "z39.50 server" must be configured in Alma. For more details about configuring the profile, see z39.50 in the Alma Integrations with External Systems Guide.

Configuring the z39.50 client

You must configure the Alma IP address, port, and database name on the Z39.50 client machine:
  • The IP address/port to be configured is:

<Alma domain>:1921 (or 210, if you are working with Refworks – see To configure a Z39.50 Refworks client).

  • The database name to be used is:

Alma institution code—for example, 60univ_inst.

  • For filtering Alma’s Z39.50 response at a campus level in a multicampus environment, you must add the campus code to the database name that is configured on the Z39.50 client machine using the following format: base (institution ID>/<campus code>. For example, base 60univ_inst/Springfieldmay be used at the client Z39.50 machine where 60univ_inst=the Alma institution code and Springfield=the Alma campus code. When this is implemented, The search will present results only for resources that are owned by the campus (and its libraries). This enables institutions in a multicampus environment to provide results that belong only to libraries identified within the selected campus.

Technical Information

ImplementationDetails
Supported Actions"Search", "Present"
"Search" Supported AttributesTerm (1016, 1017), Author (1, 1003, 1004)
Subject (21), Title (4), ISBN (7), ISSN (8)
Date (31), Identifier (12), OCLC Number (1211)
"Present" Supported Formats

OPAC
MARC21/USMARC
UNIMARC

 

"Present" Action - MARC21/USMARC Format

Data TypeDetails
Bibliographic information
  • entire bib record returned
  • MMS ID is in the 001
  • suppressed records are excluded
Holdings Information
  • embedded in the bib record 852 MARC tag if "Enrich with holdings" checkbox is selected in the "Z39.50" integration profile
  • only for permanent locations
  • suppressed holdings are excluded
  • suppressed locations are excluded
  • availability of network members is returned if the "Enrich with Members Availability" check box is selected in the "Z39.50" integration profile in the network institution

Example of an Alma response to a Z39.50 MARC "present" action :

01451cas a2200421   4500
001 991410960000541
008 760716c19769999mdubr1p       0   a0eng d
010    $a 76646332
012    $a 3 $b 3 $e n $l 1
022    $a 0363-5465
030    $a AJSMDO
035    $a 046875000 $a 142065A $b MULS
035    $a ocm02314681 830328
035    $a (TrN)29780-train20072_c2db
037    $c $15.00 (individual) $c $20.00 (institution)
037    $b Williams & Wilkins Co., 428 E. Preston St., Baltimore MD 21202
040    $a PIT $c PIT $d NLM $d NSD $d DLC $d NSD $d OCL $d NSD $d OCL $d NST $d SHC
042    $a nsdp $a lc
049    $a SHCM
222  0 $a American journal of sports medicine
245 04 $a The American journal of sports medicine.
260    $a Baltimore, $b Williams & Wilkins Co.
300    $b ill., ports. $c 26 cm.
362 0  $a v. 4-    Jan./Feb. 1976-
500    $a Official publication of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
530    $a Available on microfilm from Williams & Wilkins.
650  0 $a Sports medicine $x Periodicals.
650  2 $a Sports medicine $x periodicals.
710 2  $a American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
780 00 $t Journal of sports medicine $x 0090-4201
901    $c Ser
936    $a Unknown $a Jan./Feb.-Mar/Apr. 1976


If the Enrich with holdings option is enabled in the “z39.50” integration profile in Alma, holdings information is included in the MARC "present" action response in 852 MARC tags.  For example:
 
852 0  $b MAIN $c main $h HV7911.W426 $i S86 2008
852 0  $b GRAD $c grad $h HV7911.W426 $i S86 2008

 

If the Enrich with representations / Enrich with remote representations options are enabled in the “z39.50” integration profile in Alma, representation information is included in the MARC "present" action response in 856 MARC tags (as of June 2016 release).  For example:

856 40 $3 PhD Diss. $u http://alma.exlibrisgroup.com/view/delivery/EXL_INST/12448666800001021 $y 1 file(s), pdf $z On-campus access only
856 40 $3 Graduation Ceremony Photos $u http://digitalcollections.myuniversity.edu/items/show/1234 $y My Remote Repository $z Open access

 

"Present" Action - OPAC Format

Data TypeDetails
Bibliographic information
  • entire bib record is returned
  • MMS ID included in the first <controlfield tag="001"> of the <record>
  • suppressed records are excluded
Holdings Information
  • always included in the response:  <holdings>
  • each holding has its own <holding> element
  • includes both permanent and temporary locations
  • suppressed holdings are excluded
  • suppressed locations are excluded
  • <encodingLevel> = 17th position of MARC holdings leader
  • <localLocation> = 852b of MARC holdings
  • <shelvingLocation> = 852c of MARC holdings
  • <callNumber> = 852h + 852i of MARC holdings
  • if applicable, volume information is returned in the <volumes> element, one <volume> per volume
  • <volume> data comes from item record details
Circulation/Availability Information
  • always included in the response per holding:  <circulations>
  • each item has it own availability information:  <circulation>
  • elements returned depend on the status of item
    • <availableNow>
    • <availabilityDate>
    • <availableThru>
    • <renewable>
    • <onHold>
Here is the response from Alma for the same record requested by a Z39.50 OPAC  "present" action:
<opacRecord>
  <bibliographicRecord>
<record xmlns="http://www.loc.gov/MARC21/slim">
  <leader>01451cas a2200421   4500</leader>
  <controlfield tag="001">991410960000541</controlfield>
  <controlfield tag="008">760716c19769999mdubr1p       0   a0eng d</controlfield>
  <datafield tag="010" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">76646332</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="012" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">3</subfield>
    <subfield code="b">3</subfield>
    <subfield code="e">n</subfield>
    <subfield code="l">1</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="022" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">0363-5465</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="035" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">046875000</subfield>
    <subfield code="a">142065A</subfield>
    <subfield code="b">MULS</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="035" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">ocm02314681 830328</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="035" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">(TrN)29780-train20072_c2db</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="210" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">Am. j. sports med.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="222" ind1=" " ind2="0">
    <subfield code="a">American journal of sports medicine</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="245" ind1="0" ind2="4">
    <subfield code="a">The American journal of sports medicine.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="260" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">Baltimore,</subfield>
    <subfield code="b">Williams & Wilkins Co.</subfield>
 </datafield>
  <datafield tag="500" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">Official publication of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="530" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">Available on microfilm from Williams & Wilkins.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="650" ind1=" " ind2="0">
    <subfield code="a">Sports medicine</subfield>
    <subfield code="x">Periodicals.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="650" ind1=" " ind2="0">
    <subfield code="a">Sports accidents</subfield>
    <subfield code="x">Periodicals.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="650" ind1=" " ind2="2">
    <subfield code="a">Sports medicine</subfield>
    <subfield code="x">periodicals.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="710" ind1="2" ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="a">American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.</subfield>
  </datafield>
  <datafield tag="852" ind1="0" ind2=" ">
    <subfield code="b">MAIN</subfield>
    <subfield code="c">per-room</subfield>
  </datafield>
</record>
  </bibliographicRecord>
<holdings>
 <holding>
  <encodingLevel>4</encodingLevel>
  <receiptAcqStatus>0</receiptAcqStatus>
  <generalRetention>8</generalRetention>
  <completeness>1</completeness>
  <dateOfReport>901128</dateOfReport>
  <localLocation>Main Library</localLocation>
  <shelvingLocation>Peridocals Room</shelvingLocation>
  <enumAndChron>v. 4 2002</enumAndChron>
  <volumes>
   <volume>
    <enumeration>       </enumeration>
    <chronology>     </chronology>
    <enumAndChron>v. 4 2002</enumAndChron>
   </volume>
   <volume>
    <enumeration>       </enumeration>
    <chronology>     </chronology>
    <enumAndChron>v. 3 3</enumAndChron>
   </volume>
   <volume>
    <enumeration>       </enumeration>
    <chronology>     </chronology>
    <enumAndChron>v. 1 1</enumAndChron>
   </volume>
   <volume>
    <enumeration>       </enumeration>
    <chronology>     </chronology>
    <enumAndChron>v. 2 2</enumAndChron>
   </volume>
   <volume>
    <enumeration>       </enumeration>
    <chronology>     </chronology>
   </volume>
  </volumes>
  <circulations>
   <circulation>
    <availableNow value="1"/>
    <renewable value="0"/>
    <onHold value="0"/>
    <enumAndChron>v. 4 2002</enumAndChron>
   </circulation>
   <circulation>
    <availableNow value="1"/>
    <renewable value="0"/>
    <onHold value="0"/>
    <enumAndChron>v. 3 3</enumAndChron>
   </circulation>
   <circulation>
    <availableNow value="1"/>
    <renewable value="0"/>
    <onHold value="0"/>
    <enumAndChron>v. 1 1</enumAndChron>
   </circulation>
   <circulation>
    <availableNow value="1"/>
    <renewable value="0"/>
    <onHold value="0"/>
    <enumAndChron>v. 2 2</enumAndChron>
   </circulation>
   <circulation>
    <availableNow value="1"/>
    <renewable value="0"/>
    <onHold value="0"/>
   </circulation>
  </circulations>
 </holding>
</holdings>
</opacRecord>

"Present" Action - UNIMARC Format

Data TypeDetails
Bibliographic information
  • MMS ID is in the 001
  • suppressed records are excluded

Example of an Alma response to a Z39.50 UNIMARC "present" action :

00971ohs 2200289 n 450
001 991410960000541
100 $a 20760716a19769999 uy a
101 0 $a eng
011 $a 0363-5465
035 $a 046875000 $a 142065A
035 $a ocm02314681 830328
035 $a (TrN)29780-train20072_c2db
200 04 $a The American journal of sports medicine
210 $a Baltimore $c Williams & Wilkins Co
215 $c ill., ports $d 26 cm
300 $a Official publication of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Me
dicine.
531 $a Am. j. sports med.
606 $a Sports medicine $x Periodicals
606 $a Sports accidents $x Periodicals
606 $a Sports medicine $x periodicals
615 0 $a Sports medicine $x Periodicals.
615 0 $a Sports accidents $x Periodicals.
615 2 $a Sports medicine $x periodicals.
676 $a 617/.1027
712 0 $a American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
801 0 $b PIT
100 $a 199904130p 8 u1

Data Enrichment - Identifiers

The bibliographic record retrieved from Alma is enriched with additional identifiers. The MMS ID of the Network Zone and the Alma Community Zone ID are added to the record in additional 035 marc fields. The Community Zone ID is added with the prefix (EXLCZ) while the Network Zone ID is added with the prefix (EXLNZ-network_code). The local MMS ID is in the 001 marc field. These additional shared IDs can be used for better identification of a common record. The local MMS ID should be used when there is a need to call an API in the institution for the record.

Z39.50 data present

 

Important Note: The Z39.50 integration is intended for integrating Alma search with other automated systems for the purposes of inter-library loan, copy catalog, or selection.
Using the Z39.50 integration for other workflows, such as performing bulk export of records, is not supported.