USDA boosts archive retrieval

The Agriculture Department is making digitized, archived publications more accessible to the public through a technology partnership between ZyLab, a maker of information access software, and Google.

Officials with USDA's National Agricultural Library asked ZyLab to add functionality that would help users find and access public archives information located within secure ZyImage Extensible Markup Language repositories via the Google internet search engine.

Last year, NAL launched the NAL Digital Repository (NALDR) using ZyLab's ZyImage system to provide access to the full text of selected USDA publications. An Internet search engine such as Google will offer added access to public archives stored in ZyImage, USDA officials said.

'The NALDR contains a wide variety of publications that have been digitized by NAL dating back to 1864,' said Carol Ditzler, head of USDA's collection services branch. 'This is all public information and we want to ensure that it is easily found by the public but stored in a secure manner.' With the growing popularity of search engines such as Google, it made sense to incorporate that functionality into ZyImage, she said.

The World Wide Web Consortium developed a special mechanism called Sitemap to overcome the challenge of information stored in repositories such as the secure XML Zylab solution, company officials said.

The Sitemap protocol lets Webmasters inform search engines about URLs on their Web sites that are available for crawling. The Internet crawlers can index the data in the ZyImage repositories by launching a URL for each document. The text of a document is then returned to the crawler. The text is then added to the Internet search engine index. A Google user can point to the URL that shows the document, even if it is an image-based scanned document, Zylab officials said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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