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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding
The National Library of Australia has been doing a great deal of work toward the design and development of a library automation infrastructure following the service oriented architecture. These efforts show great promise in the creation of a number of key library automation components available as open source software.
In recent days, NLA has launched a wiki called Library Labs with lots of information about their work. Iím especially interested in the IT Architecture Project Report that they have writen that gives some background on thier strategy and technical approach. The key concepts discussed in the document include the Service Oriented Architecture, a single business approach, and open source solutions. The document leads with this introductory paragraph:
The aim of this report is to define the IT architecture that will be needed to support the management, discovery and delivery of the National Library of Australiaís collections over the next three years. The current architecture has enabled the Library to develop a significant digital library capability over the last decade. Now the burden of maintaining and supporting existing systems and services is increasingly hindering us from bringing new services online, improving the user experience, exploring new ideas or responding to technological change. In the meantime, enormous changes are occurring in the broader environment.
The initiatives described in the NLA Library Labs are quite consistent with my view of what should be different in the next generation of library automation relative to the legacy systems in place today. SOA stands as the current state of the art for business automation software today. The library world seems a bit behind in adopting systems that follow this approach. I especially like the concept of looking at the library as a single business around which we need to design and create a new automation environment. This approach gives us a chance to break away from the legacy models of library automation and build SOA-based applications designed around a set of workflows better suited for libraries today and moving forward into the future.
Marshall Breeding Mar 21, 2008 09:10:30 Link to this thread