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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding
Can an integrated library system be open without being open source? I recently authored an issue of Library Technology Reports that explores the ways that an Application Programming Interface (API) can help libraries wring data and functionality out of their ILS, extend its functionality, and interact with other applications. This LTR issue provides an introduction to APIs in the ILS realm and surveys some of the major vendors regarding the APIs offered and supported by their products.
Over the last few years, Web services and the service-oriented architecture (SOA) have become dominant themes in IT across many industries. Web-based computing, serviceorientation, and cloud computing increasingly displace the client/server approach favored by libraries in the past.
In library automation, one major trend involves evolving or rebuilding automation systems to adopt this new approach to software. Purveyors of both open source and proprietary library automation products increasingly emphasize the ways in which they embrace openness, support application programming interfaces (APIs), or implement Web services.
Libraries increasingly need to extract data, connect with external systems, and implement functionality not included with the delivered systems. Rather than relying on the product developers for enhancements to meet these needs, libraries increasingly demand the ability to exploit their systems using APIs, Web services, or other technologies.
The demand for openness abounds, particularly in libraries that exist in complex environments where many different systems need to interact. As libraries develop their IT infrastructure, it’s imperative to understand the extent to which their automation products are able to interoperate and thrive in this growing realm of Web services. This report aims to assess the current slate of major library automation systems in regard to their ability to provide openness through APIs, Web services, and the adoption of SOA.
You can find more information on getting your own copy of this LTR Issue from ALA TechSource.
I will be moderating a Webinar on Thursday December 10th from Noon – 1:30 PM Central Time Zone (1:00pm – 2:30 EST) on the use of APIs to extend or customize an ILS. I will introduce the topic, followed by brief presentations from three individuals from three companies that participated in the LTR issue: SirsiDynix, Equinox Software, and Ex Libris. ALA TechSource, the publisher of Library Technology Reports and WebJunction jointly sponsor the Webinar.
Please attend this free Webinar. You'll need to register in advance.
Marshall Breeding Dec 7, 2009 09:43:43 Link to this thread