OCLC Introduces an API for Anyone to Access Book Data

OCLC announced on Monday the availability of a new API for querying the WorldCat database: the WorldCat Basic API. This is a big deal — it opens up part of the metadata in WorldCat to anyone who wants it (for non-commercial purposes). Previously, access to WorldCat data through the developer network was limited to institutions that are members of OCLC. Data returned includes text strings for author names and book titles, ISBN and OCLC identifiers, a link to the HTML display of the record on WorldCat.org, and an optional HTML-formatted citation.

A Catalog for the “Next Generation” or the Current Generation?

Are we building the “next generation” catalog for us (librarians) or our users? As a read a report from the Next Generation Summit Search Interface Working Group of the Orbis/Cascade Alliance, I have to wonder. Portions of this report are dated1 other portions are timeless. In particular, this section from page 2 (emphasis added):

How do we define “next generation”?

Child Rearing Through HTTP Status Codes

Long time readers of DLTJ know that I rarely post commentary outside the realm of disruptive library technology to this blog, much less reflections of personal, non-work life. This will be an exception, though, because it straddles that boundary between technology and family. It is called REST for toddlers and it comes to us from the “dive into mark” blog. By way of explanation, REST (as a technology term, not as used in the sentence “parents with young children often which they had a chance to rest.”) is an acronym for Representational State Transfer, a way of constructing URLs so that they are useful outside the context of your current web browsing session (e.g. bookmarkable and/or e-mailable to someone else). REST rides atop the HTTP protocol, of which section 10 of the specification talks about response codes from clients to servers. What Mark has done is offer a real-life explanation of some of those response codes in the context of child-rearing. A sample: