Friday, 14 December 2007

Z3950 and a very English mental picture.

Last Wednesday I attended a cataloguing course which focused on using our software client, creating and remotely searching for bib records. About half way through the day, the talk turned to the Z3950 protocol and its correct use in searching remote databases such as the Library of Congress or CURL.

Apparently, it is vital that one only searches one of these remote database at a time as they all speak in subtly different languages and offer different search options. However, it is fine to search multiple local databases as they all speak the same language and can communicate with each other. Thus, all the libraries in my part of the UK that use the voyager cataloguing client may all be remotely searched at once. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a mental picture sprang up in my head and I started to chuckle.

In my mental picture, all the local databases were politely requesting information from each other in 'eh I say, old chap' voices, as wine glasses are heard twinkling in the distance whilst swan ice sculptures adorn the room. The butler announces that another local database is on the telephone, upon which Sir Pompideou III of Tidinburke shares his recipe for the most divine salmon and cucumber sandwiches.

Suddenly, thunder rolls across a hiterto bright blue Autumnal sky. Each of the local databases present exchange dark looks filled with a scathing sort of hatred and resentment. Suddenly, the door to the country house shakes and is thrown from its hinges to reveal a crazy looking wild Z3950, who shouts "eh eh eh 'ola amigoes" whilst sounding his pistols in celebration. He procedes to break the priceless collection of royal doulton, and nobody likes conversing with him.

As you can see, too much cataloguing does strange things to the brain! I must stop anthropomorphising my cataloguing protocols.....

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