Z39.50 Guide

This guide provides detailed Z39.50 information to access and interoperate with the National Library of Canada Server. The text assumes a general familiarity with Z39.50.  AMICUS, which conforms to version 3 of the Z39.50 standard, supports a subset of the Bib-1 Attribute set and utilizes codes from the Bib-1 diagnostic set.

Z39.50 Services Supported

The following services are supported by the Z39.50 server:
  • Initialization
  • Search
  • Present
  • Delete
  • Scan
  • Trigger-resource-control
  • Named result sets

Internet Addresses & Hours of Availability

  • Domain name:  amicus.collectionscanada.gc.ca (142.78.200.109) (case insensitive)
  • Port:  210
  • Availability:  Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Initialization Service

  • Protocol version:   Z39.50-1995 (Version 3)
  • Options supported:  Search, Present, Delete, Scan, Trigger-resource-control, Concurrent operations, Named result sets 
  • Preferred message size/Maximum record size:   The AMICUS server will negotiate the Client software down to 1MB if the requested size exceeds 1MB, and accept the client software proposal if it is less than 1MB
  • ID authentication:  A valid AMICUS username and password is required. The password must be changed at least once every 6 months.

Search Service

  • Result set name:  AMICUS supports named result sets
  • Database names:  AMICUS supports searching one database at a time only; specify the ANY database to search all bibliographic records.
  • Element set names:  AMICUS supports generic naming only and returns only full USMARC records. Database specific Element Set Names are not supported.
  • Query:  AMICUS supports types 1 (RPN) and 101 (ERPN) queries. The maximum length of a search term is 500 characters
  • Attribute set ID:  AMICUS supports Bib-1 only
  • Operand:  AMICUS supports the use of the Result Set ID in the Operand (for qualifying searches)
  • Operators:  AMICUS supports the Boolean operators AND, OR, AND-NOT.

Scan Service

  • Database names:  Consult the scan database list and select a database name (case-insensitive). You can scan one database at a time; not combined.
  • Step size:  The AMICUS server always uses a step-size of zero(0)
  • Position of term:  The AMICUS server provides a default of 1. A value greater than 1 will show (x) number of terms preceding the scan term
  • Please note:  All other fields behave exactly as prescribed by the standard.

​Record Syntaxes Supported

  • Internally, AMICUS supports MARC 21, formerly USMARC and CanMARC.
  • For best performance limit your present Requests to 20 records at a time. Larger values are permitted however response times may suffer.
  • When requesting a SUTRS or GRS-1 record, AMICUS will supply a record similar to MARC in the appropriate format.

Table 1:  Record Syntaxes -- Values and Descriptions

​Value Description​
10​ ​MARC 21 - formerly USMARC (default if no Preferred Record Syntax is supplied)
​13 ​MARC 21 (formerly CANMARC)
​101 ​Simple Unstructured Text Record Syntax (SUTRS), for plain text records
​105 ​Generic Record Syntax (GRS 1); unstructured multi-purpose record syntax

Database Names Supported

Table 2:  Databases Supported in Amicus

​Database Description​
​ANY ​Entire AMICUS database includes all below except AU (authorities)
​UC ​Union Catalogue bibliographic records with holdings from 500+ Canadian libraries
​NL ​National Library of Canada bibliographic records
​LC ​Library of Congress bibliographic records
​FS ​Federal Service records: 3 Canadian federal government libraries: Finance Treasury Board, Health Canada's Health Protection Branch, Canadian Historical Micro-reproductions
​NA ​National Archives of Canada records
​NFB ​National Film Board of Canada records
​SE ​CONSER authenticated serial records from OCLC
​AU ​Canadiana authority records (excluded from ANY database)

Search - Bib-1 Attributes Supported

Shaded rows are limiters; they must be used with non-shaded primary indexes. * indicates the default in AMICUS; ** is the default when the Structure is set to 2-Word. Please consult this table to view the AMICUS equivalents for these attributes.

Table 3:  Description of Bib-1 Attributes in Amicus

​Use Relation ​Position ​Structure Truncation​ Completeness​
4-Title​ ​3-equal* ​1-1st in field
*3-any **
1-phrase
​*2-word
6-word list
107-local no.

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate
*101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield
*3-complete field
​7-ISBN

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​8-ISSN

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

 

​1-inc. subfield*
2-complete subfield
3-complete field
​9-LC control no. (LCCN)

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

 

​1-inc. subfield*
2-complete subfield
3-complete field
​10-BNB card no.
not valid in authority database

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​12-Local no.

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​13-Dewey classification

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
14-UDC classification​

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​16-LC call no.

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​17-NLM call no.

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​20-Local classification
not valid in authority database

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​21-Subject heading ​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*
3-any **

​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field

​27-LC subject heading
not valid in authority database

​3-equal* ​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field

​28-RVM subject
not valid in authority database

​3-equal* ​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field

​29-Local subject index
not valid in authority database

​3-equal* ​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​30-Date
not valid in authority database

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
4-Year
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
​31-Date of publication
not valid in authority database

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
4-Year
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
​47-Subject subdivision*
Only valid with Use #21, 27, 28, 29
​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*
2-1st in subfield
​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​48-No. nat'l biblio.

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field

​50-No. govt pub.
not valid in authority database

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​51-No. music publisher
not valid in authority database

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​52-Number db

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​54-Code-language ​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*

​1-phrase*
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​55-Code-geographic area ​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*

1-phrase*
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​56-Code-institution ​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*

​1-phrase*
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​59-Place-publication
not valid in authority database
​3-equal* ​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​60-CODEN
not valid in authority database

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term
​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​61-Microform generation
not valid in authority database
​3-equal* ​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
​1-inc. subfield*
​63-Note
not valid in authority database
​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*
3-any **
​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
​1001-Record type ​3-equal* ​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*

​1-inc. subfield*
​1003-Author ​3-equal*

​1-1st in field*
3-any **

​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​1004-Author- name personal ​3-equal*

​1-1st in field*
3-any **

​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term 

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​1005-Author-
name corporate
​3-equal*

​1-1st in field*
3-any **

​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​1006-Author- name conference ​3-equal*

​1-1st in field*
3-any **

​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
1011-Date/time added to db​

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
4-Year
5-date (normalized)
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
​1-inc. subfield*
​1012-Date/time last modified

​1-less than
2-less than or equal
3-equal*
4-greater or equal
5-greater than

​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase*
4-Year
5-date (normalized)
6-word list
​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
​1-inc. subfield*
​1016-Any
not valid in authority database
​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*
3-any **
​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
​1018- Publisher
not valid in authority database
​3-equal* ​1-1st in field*
3-any **
​1-phrase*
2-word
6-word list
107-local no.

​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
101-process # in term

​1-inc. subfield*
3-complete field
​1021-Bib- level
not valid in authority database
​3-equal* ​1-1st in field* ​1-phrase* ​1-right truncation
100-do not truncate*
​1-inc. subfield*

Scan - Use Attributes Supported

Table 4:  List of Values, Descriptions, and Applicable Databases

​Value ​Description ​Applicable Databases in AMICUS
4​ ​Title ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU
​7 ​ISBN ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​8 ​ISSN ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​9 ​LC Control Number ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​13 ​Dewey classification ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​14 ​UDC classification ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​16 ​LC call number ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​17 ​Subject heading ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU
​21 ​NLM call number ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​48 ​No. national bibliography ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​51 ​No. music publisher ​​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​60 ​CODEN ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​1003 ​Author ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU
​1004 ​Author-personal ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU
​1005 ​Author-corporate ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU
​1006 ​Author-conference ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU

Relation Attributes Supported

Table 4:  List of Values, Descriptions and Examples of Relation Attributes

Value​ Description​ ​Example
​1 ​Less than ​dat < 1991 finds items published before 1991
​2 ​Less than or equal ​dat <= 1991 finds items published up to end of 1991
​3 ​Equal ​dat = 1991 finds items published in 1991
​4 ​Greater or equal ​dat >= 1991 finds items published in 1991 and after
5​ ​Greater than ​dat > 1991 finds items published after 1991

Position Attributes Supported 

Table 5:  List of Values, Descriptions and Definitions of Position Attributes

​ Value Description​ Definition​
​1 ​1st in field

​The search term must be the 1st data in the field. Example: A search for ti dog where position=1 finds Dog and cat but not Cat and dog

​2 ​1st in subfield

​The search term may appear in any subfield, but must be the 1st data in that subfield. This is supported only for use attribute 47

​3 ​Any position in field ​The search term may appear anywhere in the field. It is supported only for use attributes 4, 21, 63, 1003, 1016, 1018

Structure Attributes Supported 

Table 6:  List of Values, Names, and Defiintions of Structure Attributes

​Value Name​ Definition​
​1 ​Phrase

​One or more groups of characters separated by spaces. The records retrieved will contain the group(s) of characters exactly as they appear in the search term with respect to order and adjacency.

​2 ​Word ​One group of characters with no spaces. It is the exact text of the value to be searched.
​4 ​Year

​This is a numeric search term that consists of four digits. Ex. 1989 This can be used with use attributes 30,31,1011,1012

​5

​Date (normalized)

​The day, month, year and time when a transaction or event takes place. To be used with use attributes 1011 and 1012.
​6 ​Word list

​For the majority of indexes, word lists are treated exactly like phrases. For coded values, word lists have an implicit OR between words. In the latter case, order and adjacency are unimportant and truncation is not allowed.

​101 ​Name (normalized) ​A name search term that is structured in a particular order. In AMICUS, the structure is last name first name. Ex. munro alice

Truncation Attributes Supported

Table 7:  List of Values, Names, and Definitions of Truncation Attributes

​Value ​Name Definition​
​1 ​Right truncate

​The last word of the search term is right truncated. Ex. creat? searches for create, created, creation, etc.

​100 ​Do not truncate ​No truncation is applied to the search term.
​101 ​Process # in search term ​Process "#" in search term to replace exactly 1 character. Use "?" to replace 0 or more characters

Completeness Attributes Supported

Table 8:  List of Values, Names, and Definitions for Completeness Attributes

​Value ​Name ​Definition
​1

​incomplete subfield

​Words other than those in the search term may appear in the subfield or field in which the term appears.
​2 ​complete subfield

​(not applicable)

​3 ​complete field ​No words other than those in the search term should appear in the entire field in which the term appears.

Defaults for Attributes

Table 9:  Attributes and Default Values

​Attribute ​Default Value for Attribute
​Completeness ​1 - Incomplete subfield
​Position ​1-First; when the Structure attribute is 2-Word the default is 3-Any
​Relation ​3-Equal
​Structure ​1-Phrase
​Truncation ​1-Right truncate
​Use ​No default; your client software must provide the Use attribute

Searching at LAC

Table 10:  Search Tips for Amicus

​Search Tip ​Details
​Uppercase / lowercase ​Most search terms can be entered in upper or lower case. Enter codes (e.g. language) in lowercase and library symbols in UPPERCASE.
​Truncation

​If truncation is set to 1 (Right truncation) on your Z39.50 client, do not include the "?" in the search term. Tip: Set the truncation to 101 (truncation anywhere in term) to use wildcards in your search term. The wildcard "#" represents a single character; the question mark "?" represents 0 or more characters.

​Punctuation ​Punctuation in a term is ignored except in subject subdivisions.
​Names

​For personal names enter the surname and then the forename. Example: Author= munro alice. Enter corporate names in natural order. Example: Author= John Mills Consulting. If you are unsure of the word order in a name, try a Boolean search by name keywords.

​Titles ​Exclude initial articles. Example: Title= magus (not The magus)
​Subjects ​Use two hyphens before subdivisions. Example: Subject= jazz--brazil
​Boolean searching

​You can combine two or more terms with a Boolean operator to broaden or narrow a search. As AMICUS is a large database use care in broadening; avoid general terms (such as "canada") and prefer keyword phrases to single keywords.

​Narrowing a Search

You can narrow a search with the attributes below; never search by them on their own.

  • Date (of publication)
    Set the Structure attribute to "year" and the Relation attribute to an appropriate value such as "equal" or "less than".
  • Geographic area
    Enter the coded values for the place in lowercase. Examples: Use "n" for North America, "n-cn" for Canada, "n-cn-on" for Ontario
  • Holdings library symbols
    Enter the symbol in UPPERCASE. For a list of symbols see the ILL Directory. Example: Use BVAU for the University of British Columbia
  • Language
    Enter in lowercase one or more language codes. Example: To find French works by an author, use fre. For a complete list of codes see MARC 21.
​Keywords

​AMICUS supports keyword searching of authors, names, titles, subjects, notes, publisher names. To search by keyword set the following attributes:

  • Position  = any position in field
  • Completeness  = incomplete subfield
  • Structure  = phrase OR single word
  • You may combine keywords and exact terms in a query. Example: To find "The call of the wild" by Jack London you could enter the title keywords "call" and "wild" and name exact "london jack"
​Stopwords

​AMICUS does not use stopwords. To find "Lord of the rings", you would search for "lord of the rings" in either exact or keyword searches.

​Character set

​Search terms are assumed to use the ANSEL character set. AMICUS ignores diacritics in searching; other non-ASCII characters in the ANSEL character set are converted to ASCII equivalents for searching. The character conversion rules are identical for processing the search term and for generating AMICUS indexes.

 
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