UKOLN Clumps

The concept of clumps emerged from the third MODELS workshop which was held in July 1996. Clumps are understood to be groups of metadata resources which can be searched together to facilitate discovery. Discussion focused on virtual clumps, distributed catalogues which are searched using Z39.50 and managed by a 'broker' service. Further information about clumps is available in the MODELS 3 workshop report.

As a result of recommendations made by the workshop, eLib phase 3 included a call for proposals for pilot virtual clumps, entitled 'Large scale resource discovery'. See JISC Circular 3/97. One of the aims was to 'kick-start' widespread use of Z39.50 in the UK.

The four successful eLib pilot clump projects started in January 1998. In addition to academic libraries, they also involve other sectors, including several public library services and the British Library. Summaries of the projects are available. The projects are:

The EUROPAGATE web to Z39.50 software allows a group or clump of catalogues to be searched at one time and consolidates the results. UKOLN has an experimental facility for searching across multiple databases (mini-clumps) using EUROPAGATE.

Z39.50 questionnaire responses

The clumps projects have collected detailed information on Z39.50 implementations for the library systems suppliers used by their libraries.

Clump technical documents

The following technical documents provide information designed to support clump implementation:

Information meeting

A meeting was held in London on 25 March 1997 to provide information about the CEI Call for proposals, presentations on clump technical documentation, and an opportunity for questions.

Presentations were made by Robin Murray (MODELS Phase I technical consultant) and Ed Davidson of Fretwell-Downing. Copies of the PowerPoint slides are available:


Rosemary Russell
MODELS Project Manager
UKOLN (UK Office for Library & Information Networking)
c/o University of London Computer Centre
20 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1DZ
Tel: +44 (0)171 692 1302
Fax: +44 (0)171 692 1234

Approved eLib Project