Standards Support at Ex Libris
As a part of our open collaboration with customers, Ex Libris engages with the IGeLU/ELUNA Interoperability Special Interest Working Group (SIWG) to encourage use of our platform, support a community of developers, and receive input on the APIs and integrations road maps.
The working group published a position paper in 2017 in which it recommended that Ex Libris adopt open standards. The adoption of open standards allows for systems to work together while minimizing the amount of custom integration work needed for each implementation. We at Ex Libris agree with this position, and as a result of the discussion with the working group we embarked on an effort to better surface support for standards across our products.
Standards versus REST APIs
Standards allow for turnkey integration between systems without custom development. The adoption of standards promotes interoperability between systems. Wherever industry standards exist Ex Libris prefers to adopt them rather than devising a proprietary solution. However, this position is at times challenging given the reality of the state of today’s standards. Sometimes standards either don’t exist or are too vague to allow systems to interoperate without further development.
Given that Ex Libris is committed to providing programmatic access to data and workflows in its products, we have invested heavily in providing REST APIs to support that access. REST APIs might overlap with functionality exposed via standards, but we design the APIs to ensure full coverage for data and workflows. An example of this approach can be seen in support for patron deposits in the Alma Digital Repository. We provide REST APIsto the underlying deposit data object and workflow. Since a standard for digital deposits exists in the SWORD protocol, we’ve implemented support for SWORD in Alma. This means that customers can use standard code libraries and applications which support this protocol to build deposit workflows.
We are happy to announce the launch of the Ex Libris Standards Dashboard. The dashboard includes a list of standard protocols supported by Ex Libris products, notes on the level of support, and links to documentation about their implementation. In addition, the dashboard includes a list of standards bodies in which Ex Libris takes an active role.