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Canadian National Catalogue
Z39.50 Guide

IntroductionCommentsAMICUS Help
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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.


Table of Contents


Z39.50 Services Supported  Top of page

The National Library of Canada server supports the following Z39.50 services:

Services supported Initialization, Search, Present, Delete, Scan, Trigger-resource-control, Named result sets


Internet Addresses & Hours of Availability  Top of page

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  Top of page

Protocol version Z39.50-1995 (Version 3)
Options supported Search, Present, Delete, Scan, Trigger-resource-control, Concurrent operations, Named result sets
Preferred message 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
Maximum record size
ID authentication A valid AMICUS username and password is required. The password must be changed at least once every 6 months.


Search Service  Top of page

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  Top of page

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 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

All other fields behave exactly as prescribed by the standard.


Record Syntaxes Supported  Top of page

  • Internally AMICUS supports MARC 21, formerly USMARC and CanMARC.
  • For best performance limit your presentRequests 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.
Value Description
10 MARC 21 - formerly USMARC (default if no Preferred Record Syntax is supplied)
13 MARC 21 (formerly CANMARC)
101 SUTRS - Simple Unstructured Text Record Syntax, for plain text records
105 GRS-1 - Generic Record Syntax; unstructured multi-purpose record syntax


Database Names Supported  Top of page

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 bilbiographic 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 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)


Search - Bib-1 Attributes Supported  Top of page

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.

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

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.

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

28-RVM subject

29-Local subject index


none 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

31-Date of publication


Both 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.

50-No. govt pub.

51-No. music publisher


50 and 51 are 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

55-Code-
geographic area

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

1004-Author-
name personal

1005-Author-
name corporate

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

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  Top of page

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


Relation Attributes Supported  Top of page

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  Top of page

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  Top of page

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  Top of page

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  Top of page

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  
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  Top of page

If your Z39.50 client software does not supply a value for the following attributes the National Library applies the defaults shown.

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  Top of page

  Tips for Searching AMICUS
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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