Z39.50

Transition to OCLC services

(April 2018) Library and Archives Canada has launched its new National Union Catalogue, Voilà. Use it to search the combined catalogues of Canadian libraries.

AMICUS remains the primary source for Library and Archives Canada’s cataloguing records until October 2018. More information about the transition from AMICUS to OCLC is available online.

Services

  • Z39.50 is an information retrieval standard supported by libraries and software vendors to access information resources independent of the database location or the hardware/software used.
  • NLC Z39.50 enables you to search and retrieve records from the National Library of Canada database using Z39.50 software connected to the Internet. The NLC collection is a portion (approximately 10%) of the entire AMICUS database. This service does not require registration.
  • AMICUS Z39.50 enables you to search and retrieve records from the entire AMICUS database using Z39.50 software connected to the Internet. This service requires that you register for an AMICUS account.

Getting Started with Z39.50

Read these sections first to set up your Z39.50 client software to use our services.
  • Initialization: How to connect to our Z39.50 server
  • Search: How to send a search query to AMICUS
  • Scan: How to browse an AMICUS index to view a list of terms
  • Present: How to display records in a specific format (eg. MARC)

Use the table below to identify key elements about AMICUS in your Z39.50 client software. For detailed information, see our Z39.50 Guide. 

Table 1:  Key AMICUS Elements for Z39.50 Client Software

​Element ​NLC Z39.50 AMICUS Z39.50​
Server name/description​ ​NLC ​AMICUS
Server address​ ​amicus.collectionscanada.gc.ca ​amicus.collectionscanada.gc.ca
Port number​ ​210 ​210
​ID authentication ​No password authentication ​Requires registration for a free AMICUS username and password; a password is valid for 6 months
​Availability ​24 hours a day, 7 days a week ​24 hours a day, 7 days a week
​Protocol versions ​3, 2 ​3, 2
​Services supported ​Initialize, Search, Present, Delete_Result_Set, Scan,Close ​Initialize, Search, Present, Delete_Result_Set, Scan,Close
​Databases ​NL ​ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU
​Query types supported ​1, 101 (RPN) ​1, 101 (RPN)
​Attribute set ​BIB-1 ​BIB-1
​Record syntaxes ​MARC21 (formerly USMARC & CANMARC), SUTRS, GRS-1 ​MARC21 (formerly USMARC & CANMARC), SUTRS, GRS-1
​Search term charset ​ISO 8859-1 ​ISO 8859-1
​Record charset ​ASCII with ANSEL (ANSI Z39.47) & MARC21 (formerly USMARC & CANMARC) extensions ​ASCII with ANSEL (ANSI Z39.47) & MARC21 (formerly USMARC & CANMARC) extensions
​Record composition ​B - BRIEF ​F - FULL

Initialization

Before you start searching, your Z39.50 client software must first connect to AMICUS. Use the information below to set up the connection to AMICUS. For detailed information, see the Z39.50 Guide.
  • Server name / Description: AMICUS Z39.50 or NLC Z39.50
  • Domain name / Server address: amicus.collectionscanada.gc.ca (142.78.200.109)
  • Port: 210
  • Availability: 24 hour a day, 7 days a week
  • Database: see the box below to choose from the 9 databases in AMICUS. You must be registered with an AMICUS username and password to use all these databases except the "NL" (National Library of Canada database).
     

Table 2:  List of Databases Available in AMICUS

Database Abbreviation​ ​Database Name and/or Description
ANY​ ​Complete AMICUS database (includes all records below except authorities, see "AU")
​UC ​Union Catalogue bibliographic records with holdings from 500+ Canadian libraries
​NL ​National Library of Canada bilbiographic records
​LC ​Library of Congress bibliographic records
FS​ ​Federal Service: 3 Canadian federal government libraries: Finance Treasury Board, Health Canada. Health Protection Branch, Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions
​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)
Note: During initialization you may need to input a default record display (eg. MARC).

Problems Connecting to AMICUS

The National Library cannot troubleshoot specific Z39.50 client software problems. Use the guidelines below to diagnose the problem and then contact your Z39.50 software vendor for support. 
  • Host Not Found: Your Z39.50 client is unable to locate the AMICUS Z39.50 server. Check the "Server Address" / "Domain Name" (see above). If correct confirm that your "Domain Name Server" is working correctly. Check if your network uses a firewall; it may be preventing Z39.50 traffic.
  • Connection Refused: Your Z39.50 client was able to locate the AMICUS Z39.50 server but did not allow a connection. The AMICUS database could be down for maintenance. Check that your AMICUS username and password are still valid. Some Z39.50 clients do not display errors being returned. 

Search

To search AMICUS, you must select a database. For most AMICUS databases you need to register for a username and password. You can use the "LAC" database without registering. For more configuration information, see the Z39.50 Guide.

Table 3: AMICUS Search Tips. 

​Search Tip ​Description
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 " " 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.

BIB-1 Use Attributes and their AMICUS equivalents

Important: The shaded areas represent secondary indexes (limiters) that must be used with a primary index. When constructing a search, type the primary index before using a secondary index (limiter) otherwise an "Unsupported query" error will occur.
 

Table 4: Use Attributes and AMICUS Equivalents

​Use Attribute AMICUS command​ ​Definition Related MARC tags​
4 - Title ​TI
(position attribute set to 1 "first in field") and
TW
(position attribute set to 3 "any")
​Word or phrase identifying the item or a work contained in it. Exclude articles beginning a title. Example: For The Magus use magus, and

Title keyword in AMICUS
​130, 210, 212, 222, 240 to 247, 400$t, 410$t, 411$t, 440, 700$t, 710$t, 711$t, 730, 740, 800$t, 810$t, 811$t, 830
7 - ISBN ​BN ​International Standard Book Number ​020
8 - ISSN ​SN ​International Standard Serial Number ​022
9 - LC control no. ​LN ​Library of Congress control number ​010
13 - Dewey classification ​DC ​Dewey Decimal Classification number 082
14 - UDC classification ​UC ​Universal Decimal Classification number ​080
16 - LC call number ​LC ​Library of Congress call number ​050, 051, 055
17 - NLM call number ​MC ​National Library of Medicine call number ​060
21 - Subject heading ​SU (position attribute set to 1 "first in field") and

SW (position attribute set to 3 "Any")
​Topic on which a work is focused.

and
Subject Keyword
​600, 610, 611, 630, 650 to 658, 752, 754, 755
31 - Date of publication ​DAT Date the item was published​ 008/07-10
47 - Subject subdivision ​SDV Extension to a subject heading indicating the form, place, time period or other aspect
​All subject subfields except for $a
48 - No. national biblio. ​CA ​Character string that uniquely identifies a record in a national bibliography; at the Library and Archives Canada it refers to the Canadiana number ​All subject subfields except for $a
51 - No. music publisher ​PN ​Number assigned by a publisher to a sound recording or printed music ​016
52 - Number db ​AN ​AMICUS database number ​001
54 - Code language ​LAN ​Language of the item ​008/35-37
55 - Code geographic area ​GEO ​Geographic area appearing or implied in the headings assigned to the item during cataloguing ​043
56 - Code institution ILL ​Symbol for the library with the item, also known as the ILL symbol. Example: OONL is the symbol for Library and Archives Canada. ​852$a
59 - Place publication ​CTY ​MARC code for the country, state or province where the item was published ​008/15-17
60 - CODEN ​CD ​Six-character alphanumeric code assigned by Chemical Abstracts Service. ​030
61 - Microform generation ​MFG ​Code specifying the generation of a microform ​007/11
63 - Note ​NT ​Statement in which information such as extended physical descriptions, relationships or contents may be recorded. ​018, 033, 034, 037, 250, 254 to 257, 260, 261, 265, 300, 306, 308, 310, 315, 321, 340, 350, 351, 355, 357, 359, 362, 490, 500 to 590, 753, 856
1001 - Record type ​MAT ​Material Type ​Leader/06
1003 - Author ​NA
and
NW
​Name of a person, corporate body, conference or meeting
and
Name Keyword
​100, 110, 111, 400, 410, 411, 700, 710, 711, 800, 810, 811
1004 - Author  name personal ​NP ​Personal name, pseudonym, title of nobility, nickname or initials ​100, 400, 700, 800
1005 - Author  name corporate ​NC ​Organization or a group of persons that is identified by a particular name ​110, 410, 710, 810
1006 - Author name conference ​NM ​Meeting of individuals or representatives of various bodies for the purpose of discussing topics of common interest ​111, 411, 711, 811
1011 - Date/time added to db ​DEF ​Date and time that a record was added to the database ​008/00-05
1012 - Date/time last modified ​TDT ​Date and time a record was last updated ​005
1016 - Any ​AW ​Any keyword ​Applies to name, title, subject headings and notes
1018 - Publisher ​PW ​Organization responsible for the publication of the item ​260$b
1021 - Bib-level ​BIB ​Single alphabetic character identifying the bibliographic level. Example: monograph ​Leader/07

Scan

For detailed configuration information, see the Z39.50 Guide.
 
  • Database Names: Consult the table below and select a database to scan; you can scan one AMICUS database at a time
  • Step Size: AMICUS always uses a step-size of 0
  • Position Of Term: AMICUS provides a default of 1; a value greater than 1 will show (x) number of terms preceding the scan term
  • All other fields behave exactly as prescribed by the standard

Table 5:  Use Attributes (Indexes) Supported in Scan 

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 ​NLM Call Number
ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE
​21 ​Subject Heading
ANY, UC, NL, LC, FS, NA, NFB, SE, AU
​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

Present

Bibliographic and authority records are presented in MARC 21, SUTRS and the GRS formats. Holdings from over 500 Canadian contributing libraries are described according to the MARC Holdings Format and are presented as AMICUS summary holdings.

For detailed configuration information, consult the Z39.50 Guide.

Record Syntaxes Supported

  • AMICUS supports MARC 21 (formerly USMARC and CanMARC).
  • If no Preferred Record Syntax is supplied, AMICUS defaults to MARC 21 to support the widest range of Z39.50 clients.
  • For best performance, limit the present Requests to 20 records at a time. Larger values are permitted, however, response time may suffer.
  • When requesting a SUTRS or GRS-1 record, AMICUS presents a record similar to MARC in the appropriate format.

Table 6:  Record Syntax Values and Descriptions

​Value Description​
​10 MARC21 (formerly USMARC)
​13 MARC21 (formerly CANMARC)
​101 ​SUTRS -Simple Unstructured Text Record Syntax, for plain text records
​105 GRS-1 - Generic Record Syntax; unstructured multi-purpose record syntax
 
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