To me, his reply seemed like it contained a lot of verbal gymnastics. I
don't see how you can simultaneously require a client to not disclose
the functionality of an API, yet allow the client to publish code that
utilizes the API. By publishing the code, you are giving examples of the
API's usage and functionality. It also made me wonder to what extent a
developer would be limited in documenting their code. Could they, for
instance, explain their usage of a specific API method call in a
comment, explaining the arguments supplied, the return value, and what
exactly making that call had accomplish?. To me, that would both be an
example of good coding practice, and a violation of what my general
understanding of what a non-disclosure agreement is meant to accomplish.

Maybe there is something that I'm not getting here. Comments? My library
is looking at Serials Solutions' 360 product, so I'm curious as to what
people have to say about this.

- David

David Cloutman <[log in to unmask]>
Electronic Services Librarian
Marin County Free Library

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Casey Durfee
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 9:33 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Serials Solutions API and NDA

My opinion is that this sounds like a very odd or poorly-designed API.
some of their APIs are for unreleased or experimental features, I
having NDA's for those.  But for the most part, the API should cover the
core functions of the product.  What those core functions are should be
secret, and anything proprietary about how they work should be fully
from the people using the API.  Otherwise, NDA or no, the API is


On Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 7:00 AM, Bill Dueber <[log in to unmask]>

> Thanks -- this is great news! Is there anyone from Ex Libris (or,
> any other vendor) floating around that would like to comment in
>  -Bill-
> On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 1:45 PM, Kaplanian, Harry <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Hello everyone,
> > There was a thread that started April 2nd about the Serials
> > API and its NDA.
> >
> > We would like to clarify that the non-disclosure agreement which we
> > libraries to sign before receiving the documentation for our APIs
> > not limit the library IN ANY WAY from contributing their own code to
> > other institutions. The posting on code4lib from one of our support
> > staff was incorrect.
> >
> > We ask libraries to sign a non-disclosure agreement before receiving
> > API's and accompanying documentation because once signed, API users
> > access to propriety information through communication with our
> > development staff.
> >
> > Obviously, our software is our primary asset.  We ask for the
> > non-disclosure so that the technical details of that asset are not
> > shared with a potential competitor. However, the code that the
> > develops using the API belongs to the library.  The library is not
> > limited from contributing that code to the community. In fact, we
> > encourage you to do so.
> >
> >
> > Thanks!
> > Harry Kaplanian
> > Director of Product Management
> > Serials Solutions
> >
> --
> Bill Dueber
> Library Systems Programmer
> University of Michigan Library

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