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    How do other sites connect via Z39.50 to our database?

    • Product: Voyager
    • Relevant for Installation Type: Total Care; Dedicated-Direct; Direct; Local


    How do other sites connect via Z39.50 to our database (i.e., our Voyager server)?


    Z39.50 is an international standard client-server protocol for searching and retrieving information from a database via a standard computer network (TCP/IP). It s commonly used in library environments searching library catalogs and retrieving MARC records.  While the Z39.50 standard is a very old protocol dating back to the 1970's, it is still heavily used by catalogers to connect to other libraries' catalogs in order to "fetch" (download) bibliographic records to be included in the cataloger's local database. 

    Similarly, Voyager sites can make their catalogs searchable by Z39.50, and often do.  Discovery platforms like EBSCO EDS use Z39.50 to obtain RTA (real time availability) information from the Voyager database.

    Voyager's Z39.50 was written specifically for the Voyager software.  It was not adapted from another code source.

    To allow a Voyager database to be searchable by external sites via Z39.50, those external sites require the following information to connect to the database1:

    • Voyager server's IP
    • z3950svr port
    • database name

    1Unless a username and password for Z39.50 access has been configured for the database (this is not typical and usually not recommended), other sites will not need credentials to connect.

    There is a limit of 10,000 records that can be retrieved by Voyager in a Voyager Z39.50 result set.

    Additional Information

    Voyager server's IP : find this on a staff client PC's voyager.ini file. Note that for split server configuration, this is typically the server where opacsvr runs
    z3950svr port : this is usually xx90 where xx is the port series. For most sites' MARC-8 encoded records, this will be port 7090 (for the most typical 7000 port series)
    database name : this is VOYAGER by default.

    You can easily determine if your Z39.50 server is running using these instructions.

    You may review settings in /m1/voyager/xxxdb/ini/z3950svr.ini on the server, but this file should not need to be edited in typical circumstances.

    NOTE that the database name is often (but not always) "voyager' and not "xxxdb" as you might expect. Try "voyager" when you initially test. Not setting this to "voyager" is a common "gotcha".

    Third-party testing tools (such as Yaz client, Yaz Self-Validation App, MarcEdit Z39.50 Client, etc) can be useful for verifying connectivity with those parameters.

    Voyager sites hosted by Ex Libris have the Z39.50 port disabled by default in the firewall rules.  Open a ticket with Support to have the firewall rules changed.

    Locally hosted Voyager servers (those not hosted by Ex Libris) may need to take into account Campus Firewall Rules, as well as other considerations that are unique to their environment.  Contact your I.T. Department for assistance.

    See also: Does Voyager support SRU/SRW?

    • Article last edited: 18-Jan-2021
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