Standardized Library e-content APIs? Yes!

t the Digital Content Working Group sponsored panel discussion session at ALA Orlando, NISO CEO Todd Carpenter discussed an upcoming project that would establish a library API tool set, creating standards for vendors and libraries to provide content and enhance patron service. The NISO group would start with Queens Library’s API developments and build on them.

Good news!: the NISO Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee has approved the API project. It will now move to a 30-day ballot of NISO Voting members.

Here is a summary of the deliverables:

A NISO Recommended Practice describing an API framework covering library-related communications and functions such as customized genre or category views for browse, search, and discovery of collections, catalog information, or digital resources, user authentication, transmission of account information, management of barcodes, check out and return items, stream audio/read material online, show item availability, cancel holds and item requests, and other requirements as determined by stakeholders such as any and all aspects of library operations that have need for convenient, secure, and real time transactions via web services.”

And a Summary of the Process: 

“A NISO working group comprised of stakeholders as described below will create the deliverables, using as a starting point the Queens Library API Requirements, which are expected to be modified by Working Group experts throughout the development.  Meetings will take place bi-weekly via telephone and WebEx. An in-person meeting or public forum scheduled as part of the process may also help to progress discussion and action. In addition, the Working Group experts will also create materials to help educate the community and support the ongoing effort.

Why is this important? Development of these API standards has the potential to enhance the library user’s experience, creating greater integration of platforms and content. It would establish standards that vendors could be asked to work within and libraries could employ nationally and even internationally. This initiative would further ReadersFirst's mission and help us realize our vision of interoperable content. ReadersFirst had adopted working on such standards as a goal, but decided instead that we would do all we could to support using Queens Library’s work as a standard.

Please consider helping:

If you or someone at your library is a voting member of NISO, please, please, please vote “yes.”

If you are interested in working on the project, NISO should (if the “yes” vote comes in) be looking for developers and interested librarians to participate.

If the standards take shape, we should all be discussing with our vendors and asking them to get on board.

Now is the time for all good librarians to come to the aid of the party.