ISSNs and Z39.50

Thanks to Alf Eaton, author of HubMed, an alternative interface to the PubMed database, for noting that LibraryLookup could easily be extended to match ISSNs. I've made the change, and if you reacquire (or recreate) your Innovative or iPac bookmarklet, you can look up an article from an abstract page like this one.

The regex change to accomplish this was simple.

From: /([\/-]|isbn=)(\d{9,9}[\dX])/i

To: /([\/-]|is[bs]n=)(\d{7,9}[\dX])/i

The solution isn't complete, though, because while Innovative and iPac systems use a single syntax for numeric lookup by ISBN or ISSN, Voyager and DRA treat these queries separately.

Before I muck around with those syntaxes, I have a question for Jenny's tribe. Over the holiday, I had some email discussion with Bill Oldroyd at the British Library. He reminded me of something I've been aware of for many years, but was never sure how to use: the Z39.50 protocol. Apparently, recent efforts like ZING (Z39.50 International: Next Generation) and SRU are trying to bring Z39.50 into the mainstream of the Web. My questions: Could LibraryLookup use a single Z39.50-style query syntax rather than per-OPAC query syntaxes? How many of the currently-supported libraries could, right now, respond to such queries? And, what would be the mechanism for issuing such queries?

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