VIEWS and Web Services

In a recent Ariadne article on The Networked Library Service Layer, the author stated that “NISO started a Web services initiative, VIEWS but this has lain dormant since 2004.” In actuality the VIEWS project, after transfer to NISO, resulted in a recommended practice. No criticism of the author, who is well-versed in standards, but this just shows how difficult it can be to keep track of developing standards that may take years to come to fruition. (I’ll save standards current awareness for a later blog entry.) 

VIEWS, which stands for Vendor Initiative for Enabling Web Services, actually started as an independent vendor activity in June 2004 to leverage the use of web services for integrating library applications from disparate vendors. While the original vision had been to develop and test some actual web services interoperability protocols, following a survey of web services usage and a metasearch white paper, the conclusion was reached that such a goal might be premature due to basic infrastructure issues such as authentication and services discovery.

In September 2005, NISO was asked to take over the activity and a new working group was formed, including representatives from the original members of VIEWS and some new members that included non-vendors. The new working group focused on developing a recommended practice that would outline both actual and potential uses of web services in a library context as an alternative to a full API.

Their document, Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context (NISO RP 2006-01), was issued in July 2006. A number of library applications of web services are described and best practices are recommended in the areas of HTTP caching, filtering of user input, output formats, security, and throttling.

Since that recommended practice was issued, NISO has put its own toes in the web services water, so to speak, with the SUSHI standard protocol, which is built on a web services platform.

Posted by Cynthia Hodgson