I think that it's supposed to be the exact opposite. APIs, and  
especially web APIs, exist to provide access to your data outside of a  
specific vendor implementation. That way you can have your OPAC from  
$BIG_VENDOR, but use the bibliographic data from it in  
$OPEN_SOURCE_PROJECT without having to access the database directly  
(causing your DBAs to have sleepless nights.) Theoretically anything  
that comes over HTTP is some form of structured text, so there  
shouldn't be unreadable binary blobs.

In theory, that's how it's supposed to work. There's still crappy  
implementations, but that's not the fault of the API - that's the  
fault of the implementer.


On 23-Jul-09, at 9:22 AM, Eric Lease Morgan wrote:

> On Jul 22, 2009, at 10:56 PM, Ross Singer wrote:
>> ...Today almost all ILS products make claims regarding offering  
>> more openness through APIs, Web services, and through a service- 
>> oriented architecture (SOA)....
> I heard someplace recently that APIs are the newest form of vendor  
> lock-in.  What's your take?
> -- 
> Eric Lease Morgan
> Head, Digital Access and Information Architecture Department
> Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame
> (574) 631-8604