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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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Opening up Library Systems through Web Services and SOA

Library Technology Reports: Opening up Library Systems through Web Services and SOA: Hype or Reality?

Can an integrated library system be open without being open source? I recently authored an issue of Library Technology Reports that explores the ways that an Application Programming Interface (API) can help libraries wring data and functionality out of their ILS, extend its functionality, and interact with other applications. This LTR issue provides an introduction to APIs in the ILS realm and surveys some of the major vendors regarding the APIs offered and supported by their products.

Over the last few years, Web services and the service-oriented architecture (SOA) have become dominant themes in IT across many industries. Web-based computing, serviceorientation, and cloud computing increasingly displace the client/server approach favored by libraries in the past.

In library automation, one major trend involves evolving or rebuilding automation systems to adopt this new approach to software. Purveyors of both open source and proprietary library automation products increasingly emphasize the ways in which they embrace openness, support application programming interfaces (APIs), or implement Web services.

Libraries increasingly need to extract data, connect with external systems, and implement functionality not included with the delivered systems. Rather than relying on the product developers for enhancements to meet these needs, libraries increasingly demand the ability to exploit their systems using APIs, Web services, or other technologies.

The demand for openness abounds, particularly in libraries that exist in complex environments where many different systems need to interact. As libraries develop their IT infrastructure, its 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 their ability to provide openness through APIs, Web services, and the adoption of SOA.

You can find more information on getting your own copy of this LTR Issue from ALA TechSource.

I will be moderating a Webinar on Thursday December 10th from Noon 1:30 PM Central Time Zone (1:00pm 2:30 EST) on the use of APIs to extend or customize an ILS. I will introduce the topic, followed by brief presentations from three individuals from three companies that participated in the LTR issue: SirsiDynix, Equinox Software, and Ex Libris. ALA TechSource, the publisher of Library Technology Reports and WebJunction jointly sponsor the Webinar.

Please attend this free Webinar. You'll need to register in advance.

Dec 7, 2009 09:43:43
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Stephen Abram exits SirsiDynix

SirsiDynix announced today that Stephen Abram, its Vice President for Innovation, will leave the company to join Gale Cengage as its new Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Markets. Abram has taken a highly visible role for the company, especially on the speaking circuit. He has also overseen the SirsiDynix Institute, an educational program of the company that provides free Webinars, delivered primarily by individuals outside the company, on a variety of topics related to current library issues. Abram joined Sirsi Corporation in March 2004. While Abram did not exercise a great deal of operational responsibility at SiriDynix, he channeled strategic and innovative thinking internally in the company and to a broad external audience.

Abram takes a similar role in his new position at Gale Cengage. He will rejoin Patrick C. Sommers who serves Gale Cengage as its President. Sommers led SirsiDynix as President and CEO from Jan 2001 through Feb 2007. This move also returns Abram to the publishing and content industry, which was his focus prior to joining SirsiDynix. Gale Cengage represents a natural career move when considering the other content companies with which he has been involved, including Micromedia ProQuest (VP for Corporate Development), Carswell Thompson Publishing (Publisher, Electronic Information).

Abram has held elected leadership positions in library organizations such as the Special Libraries Association, the Canadian Library Association, the Ontario Library Association (president 2002).

Abram's blog, Stephen's Lighthouse, currently hosted by SirsiDynix will shortly transition intact to a new service.

Abram's involvement with SirsiDynix has not been without controversy. A white paper he recently authored critiquing open source software unleashed a firestorm of reactions that hammered at the issues that distinguish open source and proprietary software methods.

Following the departure of Abram, others within the company will take a more visible role in the area of articulating its strategic vision, especially individuals such as Talin Bingham, Chief Technology Officer, and Berit Nelson, Vice President Strategic Library Development. This shift allows personnel with direct responsibility for the creation of the products and services of SirsiDynix to voice the underlying vision and strategy.

Dec 18, 2009 09:57:18
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Photo of Marshall Breeding author of

Name: Marshall Breeding

Title: Publisher

Organization: Library Technology Guides


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