In my Systems Librarian column for the April 2014 issue of Computers in Libraries I address the topic of application programming interfaces (APIs) and how they can be used to extend an application or to assist in making connections with external systems. The availability of APIs has become increasingly important to libraries as they seek to be do more with their strategic applications than possible through the built-in user interfaces. This column is meant to be a basic introduction to the topic and to spark ideas on how libraries can improve their services by taking advantage of APIs.
Most libraries today rely on many different software applications and content services to support their internal operations and their services to patrons. Smaller libraries may deal with a handfiil of these platforms, while larger ones tend to be involved with dozens or hundreds, often with overlapping spheres of functionality or data. Such a matrix of interrelated products and services brings considerable complexity as libraries manage each separately, while attempting to fit them into a coherent technology strategy. In dealing with these multiple and diverse services, libraries benefit from any technologies or mechanisms that can be used to make them work together effectively and to exploit their capabilities to meet local concerns. One of these mechanisms comes in the form of APIs. The increasing availability of APIs among the major applications used by libraries represents an important advancement in technology with many potential benefits. continue reading...
(The full text of my Systems Librarian columns are available on Library Technology Guides 90 days following thier original publication in Computers in Libraries magazine.)
Marshall Breeding Oct 10, 2014 03:10:02
Link to Posting: APIs Unify Library Services