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Weekly News Digest

September 25, 2006 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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NISO Issues Free Web Services Guide for Libraries

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO; http://www.niso.org) Web Services and Practices working group has completed NISO RP 2006-01, "Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context." This new Recommended Practice (RP) publication covers the following areas: HTTP caching, filtering of user input, reuse of output formats, security, and throttling. The document also describes typical output formats used in Web services—DTD, XML schema, RDF, Relax NG, and DSD. It may be downloaded for free at http://www.niso.org/standards/resources/rp-2006-01.pdf.

Web services are seen as an alternative to fully developed application programming interfaces (APIs) for circumstances in which the additional overhead is not warranted. The NISO working group utilized this IBM definition:

"Web services is a technology that allows applications to communicate with each other in a platform- and programming language-independent manner. A Web service is a software interface that describes a collection of operations that can be accessed over the network through standardized XML messaging. It uses protocols based on the XML language to describe an operation to execute or data to exchange with another Web service."

For those implementing Web services in a library context, an appendix provides an overview of typical services: discover, locate, request, deliver, and common Web services. The appendix also includes a brief introduction to interoperability issues.

The working group was composed of experts from 19 companies and academic institutions. Before disbanding, the group recommended that NISO continue to monitor, evaluate, and engage in the development of standardized system frameworks and architectures for Web services. There was consensus that NISO should work with existing efforts like the U.K.-based e-learning efforts and others in development.

This publication is the first to be released under NISO's new RP designation. These documents are intended to provide guidance in emerging areas where formalized standards may inhibit innovation. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Source: NISO



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