I don't think you're dreaming at all.  Sounds like the same vision I
know several OSS service firms are trying to pursue.  Not to be self
serving here (really, anyone who knows me will tell you that's not my
style!), but in the spirit of making sure you are aware, I'll note
the following:

When CARE partnered with Index Data as our strategic partner, the
support of Web Services was one of the criteria that we required and
found in that partner.  Index Data uses Web Services throughout their
products.    We'll be announcing other partnerships in the months
ahead, and that criteria is a continuing requirement that we've found
others in the open source service/development community are meeting
(and by the way, using REST!).

I would also note that we have some beginning recommendations for
standardized Web Services practices as a result of the work of NISO
(for which I'm the immediate Past Chair and James Neal is the current
Chair).  But in case you're not aware of it, please look at: NISO
RP-2006-01, Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library
Context (available at  I know NISO would welcome more
work in this area if the market is willing to pitch in and help
sponsor it.

> * Get some outside experts in to handle usability and interaction
> design, and open source the result. Create a consortium or
> interest-group for library systems usability and user experience.

Again, here we totally agree.  If you look at the "About Us" page of
CARE Affiliates webpage, you'll see one member of our organization is
Ezra Schwartz, whose resume in this area is pretty impressive.
We've only begun to work out how his contributions will contribute
moving forward, but we already know we're planning on Ezra being at
ALA, in the Open Solutions booth (where you'll find CARE, Index Data
and Liblime) area and we're planning on his making presentations
about this very topic.  If libraries are willing to put resources
into work in this area, Ezra is ready to go.

> * Make sure we've got a *clean* cut of technology between business
> logic and the user interface. Enforce low-key semantically-rich XHTML
> and use CSS everywhere.

The first major product we've pushed out with Index Data is
MasterKey, which is a perfect example of what you're talking about
here.   A total division of the technology between the business logic
and the user interface can be found in this product.

Dreaming?  Not at all.   Like I said, we're out here and we're doing
it because we share in the vision and we believe this is what the
market wants.  If people vote with their resources and back us, Index
Data and LibLime we'll deliver more of the same.  But I want to
underscore the importance of what you said about how important that
backing is.  Everyone of the open source firms that'll be in the Open
Solutions booth at ALA are, to the best of my knowledge, being
financed solely by the company founders.   This is specifically
because these people don't want to be pulled away from their customer
focus, their desire to do what they believe the market wants and
needs.  They don't want to be dictated to by large equity investors,
venture capitalists or others who are, it seems these days, looking
more for financial return than doing what is right for the
customers.  Until such time as those kind of money people remember
that the way to make money is to treat the customer right, then we'll
continue to grow through self-financing which means we'll grow
slowly, organically and by hoping those that think we're right, back
us by buying from us.

We watched and admired all of you get the OSS movement underway and
we believed the market needed companies like ours to take your ideas
and software to the next level.  We are certainly hoping and betting
a lot, that we're right.   Now it's time for the market to vote.


CARE Affiliates