I strongly believe that if you are spending the time and money to pour data into a system then you should have the ability to harness that data in a way you see fit. If all you can do is export it back out then it’s really not complete. What I’m referring to is of course API’s. The ability to search or access your data in a way that allows you to use it to it’s full potential. Innovative provides an XML server for the ILS that begins to fulfill this though it is lacking in some areas. I’m hopeful they will will it in future releases. Talis is also moving in this direction though I still don’t think I understand their model (which appears to be centralized). I have a feeling OCLC will also start offering more API’s for those who pay to upload data to them. It would make the worldcat program much more enticing.

I recently gave a talk at our local Innovative User Group meeting regarding API’s. I limited this one to just showing examples of what people are doing with them. My hope being to at least spark interest. My examples included z39.50, xml server, export and EZproxy. It’s fairly Innovative-centric. I prepared an in-depth handout just in case things went wrong.

MIUG 2006 Handout (69K pdf)

The only example I showed that is not in the handout is Georgia Tech’s Web Localizer which is built on the EZProxy web service among other things.

Thanks to all the developers for giving me information about their projects and any statistics they could find.