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
- 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).