On August 25, 2016, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced a new project relating to APIs and data about electronic content in libraries.
Full text of the NISO announcement:
Voting Members of the
National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved a new project
to modernize library-vendor technical interoperability to improve the access of
digital library content and electronic books. Building upon a set of API
(Application Programming Interface) Requirements developed by Queens
Library, a new NISO Working Group will create a foundational API set that the
library community can build on. This set will fulfill an array of user and
library needs, including quicker response times, flexible item discovery and
delivery options, improved resource availability, and more seamless integration
of electronic and physical resources.
Library patrons should expect an excellent user experience and requisite level
of convenience should be built into all customer-facing tools that service
library patrons. This project is being undertaken to bring patrons' library
experiences in line with the modern tools and technologies-especially mobile
technologies-they are accustomed to using in other areas of their lives.
Currently, libraries use varied technologies, some of which rely on outdated
and slow communication protocols, to provide services to users. By establishing
standards on RESTful Web services APIs as well as standard mobile extensions,
the library industry will leave many archaic, difficult-to-use tool sets
behind, and allow libraries more flexibility in meeting local needs.
"11.2 million patrons visited the Queens Library in 2015," says
Kelvin Watson, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President, Queens Library.
"It's imperative that we keep them coming back by providing fast,
efficient service that rivals what they experience in the commercial world.
Queens Library, which serves one of the five most diverse counties in the United
States, has a vested interest in undertaking this work to customize library
operations for specialized local needs. We are excited to have initiated this
project at NISO and we look forward to working with other participants to
actualize our draft framework."
Volunteer working group members will deliver a foundational framework, in the
form of a NISO Recommended Practice, that will communicate an understanding of
how libraries should provide and receive data. These library-related
communications and functions could include customized genre or category views
for browse, search, and discovery of collections; user authentication;
transmission of account information; management of barcodes; check out and
return of items, streaming of online material, and other requirements as
determined by stakeholders. Work will also include the creation of several
proof-of-concept services that use the proposed approach to deliver services
and a registry to enable supporting data providers and system vendors to communicate
their support of the framework. The full work item approved by NISO Voting
Members is available on the NISO website.
NISO's Associate Director of Programs, Nettie Lagace, comments, "NISO is
eager to begin this work to improve library-patron interactions. Advancing
vendor-library communication processes through consensus discussions and
agreement is a natural fit in our portfolio of work. NISO's mission is to
streamline the work of libraries and other information providers to get content
into the hands of consumers." Lagace continues, "We encourage working
group participation from libraries, library system providers, providers and
distributors of e-books, recorded books, and other forms of digital content and
media. We are looking forward to hearing from interested volunteers who can
dedicate their technical talents to this important effort." Those who are
interested in participating in the E-Content API Framework working group should
contact Lagace at firstname.lastname@example.org.