This seems a _far_ more appropriate list for these questions.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Breeding, Marshall <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 9:53 PM
Subject: [NGC4LIB] Integrating with your ILS through Web services and APIs
To: [log in to unmask]

I am in the process of writing an issue of Library Technology Reports
for ALA TechSource titled "Hype or reality:  Opening up library
systems through Web Services and SOA."  Today almost all ILS products
make claims regarding offering more openness through APIs, Web
services, and through a service-oriented architecture (SOA).  This
report aims to look beyond the marketing claims and identify specific
types of tasks that can be accomplished beyond the delivered
interfaces through programmatic access to the system internals.

As part of the research for this article I am soliciting feedback from
libraries that taken advantage of Web Services or other API's in
conjunction with their core Integrated Library System (ILS) to meet
specific needs.  I'm interested in hearing about how you might have
been able to integrate library content and services into applications,
extracted data, automated processes or other novel applications.
Please tell me about your experiences with your ILS in regard to the
APIs it offers:

 - Do you feel like you can pretty much do anything you want with the
system, or do you feel constrained?
 -Are the APIs offered able to address all the data and functionality
within the ILS?
 -On the flip side, do you feel like your ILS is too closed?
 -Do you find the APIs offered by the developer of the ILS to be well
 - What programming languages or other tools were you able to use to
take advantage of these APIs?
 - What level of programming proficiency is required:  Systems
librarian with scripting languages, software development engineer, or
something in between?
 - What's on your wish list?  What kind of APIs would you like to see
incorporated into your current or next ILS?
 - I'm interested in responses from those that use open source ILS
products as well.  Are you able to programmatically interact with the
 - Do you consider your ILS as embracing a true Service-oriented
architecture?  Systems vendors increasingly promote their ILS as SOA.
Can you provide examples where the ILS does or does not exhibit traits
of SOA in your environment.

While it's important for the ILS to offer support for standard
protocols such as Z39.50, NCIP, and OAI, that's not the core of the
issue here.  What I'm looking for are API's that allow the library to
get at data and functionality not addressed by these protocols.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences in ILS API's with me
for this report.

I appreciate your assistance.


Summary excerpt:
Libraries increasingly need to extract data, connect with external
systems, and implement functionality not included with the delivered
systems.  Rather than being reliant on the products developers for
enhancements to meet these needs, libraries increasingly demand the
ability to exploit their systems using APIs, Web Services, or other
technologies.  Especially in libraries that exist in complex
environments where many different systems need to interact, the demand
for openness abounds.  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 providing openness through
API's, Web Services, and the adoption of SOA.

Marshall Breeding
Director for Innovative Technology and Research
Vanderbilt University Library
Editor, Library Technology Guides