Now it’s official

As I hoped, the good news was announced by Peter Brantley of the Digital Library Federation while I was away in Canada: the recommendations of the ILS-Discovery interface task group, which we’ve been talking about and drafting over the last many months online and off, have now been officially released. You can find the official release on the DLF website. We’ll be putting some supplementary information on there shortly as well; for now, you can still find background and supplementary material on our wiki.

I’d like to thank the members of the task group for all their work in putting the recommendation together; the Digital Library Federation for sponsoring this work; our steering group (Dale Flecker, Robert Wolven, Marty Kurth, Terry Ryan, and especially Peter Brantley) for all sorts of help and support in making this initiative viable; the Penn Libraries for supporting my chairing the task group this past year (as well as hosting one of the early meetings); the vendors that signed the Berkeley Accord for meeting with us and agreeing to support the basic discovery interface functions describes in our recommendation; and the many library folks, developers, and vendors that gave us suggestions and publicity.

We’ve intended the recommendations to be a first step in an ongoing process of supporting interoperability between the online data and services of libraries and a wide range of discovery applications. The recommendations we produced give fairly detailed proposals for a basic level of interoperability, and more open-ended proposals for higher levels. But you should only spend so long on proposals before it’s time to shift emphasis onto implementing them. With the official version now out, I hope we can start implementing these functions in earnest. (And once we’ve accumulated some experience with implementations, I hope that folks will revisit and refine the recommendations to further help things along.)

Locally, we already have one demonstration implementation, and we hope to now work on getting the basic functions implemented for our actual ILS.) And I hope that many others will be working on or using implementations soon. The DLF is now planning a developer’s workshop for folks interested in implementing the ILS-DI recommendations, which hopefully will convene later this summer. There should also be online forums of various kinds to support folks who are interested in implementing the recommendations or using them in their application. Exactly how these forums will develop over time remains to be seen; but for now, the ILS-DI Google Group is one good place to look for news and discussion of activities related to the ILS-DI recommendation.

I’m thankful myself for having the opportunity to work with so many good people on this project, and look forward to getting to work on implementations, and to continuing the conversations that have started to make the most of library resources and services.

Author: John Mark Ockerbloom

I'm a digital library architect and planner at the University of Pennsylvania.