XML in Libraries

In an article, “Libraries urged to embrace Web2.0”, Mark Chillingworth makes the point that “that existing library catalogue standards, such as MARC and Z39.50, need to be replaced by XML technology “. I think it is about time. There are several reasons:

Making library information available through a set of webservices (using SOAP or REST) will allow new applications to be developed combining library data with location information. This will spark building of new mashups. Mashups are web applications that combine several openly available webservices to build innovative new applications.

Here are some baby steps libraries can take.

1. Decide on what information a library wants to publish – catalogs, events, services, resources etc.

2. Design one or more Microformats for publishing the information

3. Integrate it into the current library web sites

I think having common Microformats will definitely help reduce duplication of effort. In the longer term, library specific XML vocabularies and Ontologies may be developed.

I think a start can be made in some of the corporate libraries or acadamic ones where more technical talent may be available to make these possible.

Resources:

The original article on Libraries urged to embrace Web 2.0
The white paper on Do Libraries Matter?
A growing list of mashups
A good introductory article on Microformats
A wiki on Microformats

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