What Is SRW/U?

I stumbled upon this post and I’ve been twisting my head back and forth trying to absorb and understand this. I haven’t had much time to really sort it out but something tells me it’s worth knowing about. While I’m putting this on my personal back-burner, maybe this speaks to someone more immediately and maybe someone will make it clearer to me before I start digging.

Eric Lease Morgan writes:

SRW/U is used for searching indexes (, and to some degree databases as well). It is possible to use it to search just about any list of stuff you have. Books. Journals. Articles. Microforms. Reference sources. Names. Addresses. Telephone numbers. Internet resources. TEI, EAD, and other XML files. Etc.

Please, if this interests you, check out the entire post … What is SRW/U? that I found at the TechEssence Info blog.


  1. There’s an article by Eric Morgan (who does TechEssence) in Ariadne that explains SRW/U better, I think. The way I understand it is that it’s one of the various initiatives underway to get us all to use the same standard when we construct and make available databases and when we send queries to those databases. One of the critical aspects of this (and other) initiatives is that it makes good use of XML, which can mark up data in a form that browsers can make sense of — a handy thing.

    SRW/U is “housed” in a sense at the U.S. Library of Congress, which suggests to me that there’s a strong likelihood it will emerge as a widely accepted standard.

    So far as I could tell, though, it’s not ready for prime time yet, in the hands of ordinary mortals equipped with nothing more powerful than a browser. Close though.

  2. Thanks, Simon, for the quick and sinkinable explanation. Much appreciated.