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Friday, November 16, 2007

Search Web Services Version 1.0

OASIS announced a 30-day review for a TC Discussion document titled
"Search Web Services Version 1.0," produced by members of the OASIS
Search Web Services Technical Committee. This document was prepared
as a strawman proposal for public review, intended to generate
discussion and interest. It has no official status. Summary: "The
Search web service is a means of opening a database to external enquiry
in a standardized manner that facilitates discovery of query and
response possibilities and makes it possible for heterogeneous
databases to be queried simultaneously with the same or similar queries.
Client software can be easily configured using a standardized XML
explain document that is accessible from the base URL or via the
explain operation. In contrast with protocols such as SQL and XQuery,
detailed knowledge of a database's structure is not necessary as the
explain document contains parsable information on server defaults,
searchable indexes and record schemas that are returned in the response."
The new specification itself is based on the SRU (Search Retrieve via
URL) specification which can be found at the U.S. Library of Congress
web site. SRU is a standard XML-focused search protocol for Internet
search queries, utilizing CQL (Contextual Query Language), a standard
syntax for representing queries. It is expected that the OASIS standard,
when published, will deviate from SRU. How much it will deviate cannot
be predicted at this time. The fact that the SRU spec is used as a
starting point for development should not be cause for concern that
this might be an effort to rubberstamp or fasttrack SRU. The committee
hopes to preserve the useful features of SRU, eliminate those that are
not considered useful, and add features that are not in SRU but are
considered useful. The committee has decided to request OASIS to release
this as a discussion document. Detailed review of this document is
premature at this point and is not requested; feedback on the
functionality and approach is solicited. Please send comments by
December 7, 2007.

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