The Open System Interconnection as a building block in a health sciences information network.
The interconnection of integrated health sciences library systems with other health sciences computer systems to achieve information networks will require either custom linkages among specific devices or the adoption of standards that all systems support. The most appropriate standards appear to be those being developed under the Open System Interconnection (OSI) reference model, which specifies a set of rules and functions that computers must follow to exchange information. The protocols have been modularized into seven different layers. The lowest three layers are generally available as off-the-shelf interfacing products. The higher layers require special development for particular applications. This paper describes the OSI, its application in health sciences networks, and specific tasks that remain to be undertaken.