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SPECIAL SESSION: NISO Metasearch

Chair:Juha Hakala

16:00-18:00,  Wednesday  13 October  2004

Tentative Agenda

This session will provide an introduce some of the current activity of the NISO Metasearch Initiative [http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/niso-mi/].

"Metasearching" is a label that has been applied to cover the various facets of providing a service that offers the user the ability to search a range of heterogeneous resources from a single interface.
Traditionally, metasearch service providers in the library community have focused on the use of the Z39.50 protocol, but as the diversity of search targets has widened, so the range of approaches to interacting with those targets has increased. A typical metasearch application must deal not only with standard protocols but also with proprietary interfaces, and sometimes parsing results returned as HTML documents - as well as managing authorisation and authentication, and merging and ranking result sets for presentation to a user.

The absence of widely supported standards, best practices, and tools makes the metasearch environment less efficient for the system provider, the content provider, the library, and ultimately the end-user. The NISO Metasearch Initiative has brought together librarians, content providers and library system providers in an attempt to identify the problem areas and to develop common approaches, so that
- service providers can offer more effective and responsive services
- content providers can delier enhanced content and protect their intellectual property
- libraries can distinguish their services from other Web search services

Task groups are currently working in three areas: access management, collection and service description, and search and retrieval.

This session will concentrate on the activity of NISO MI's Task Group 2, which is exploring the metadata requirements for metasearch applications, specifically the description of collections (the aggregations of items of interest to the user) and services (the interfaces through which software applications can access those collections).