At my recent visit to NECC, accompanied by my participation in Remixing for Library 2.5 I mentioned a great interface being promoted here in Australia called LibX. Roy Tennant recently posted a list of library-related APIs that library developers may find useful.
What’s an API exactly you ask? Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are structured methods for one software application to communicate with another. APIs allow programs to interoperate and share data and services in a standard way.
This is why you can embedd videos in your blog, or create a feed of your blog to appear in FaceBook – its about creating Mashups. Check out ZDnets video What is a Mashup?
Only APIs that are deemed to be generally useful are listed by Roy. However, almost any library catalog will have a search API (e.g., Z39.50) and may have others as well depending on the vendor and product. Contact Roy if you have a great API to add to the list.
Some great examples:
- Google Book Search API – link to items in GBS, and find out about their availability
- pewbot (Huddersfield University Library) – “People who borrowed this also borrowed that” service
You see, THIS is the future of information services – Interoperability and flexibility of interfaces.
A very good reason to have a library system that allows you to get involved with API enhancements.