How to encode the availability of documents

23. Oktober 2009 um 12:50 2 Kommentare

Since almost a year I work on a simple encoding format and API to just get the current (!) availability status of documents in libraries. Together with Reh Uwe (hebis network) and Anne Christensen (beluga project) we created the Document Availability Information API (DAIA) which is defined as data model with encoding in XML and JSON (whichever you prefer).

This week I finished and published a reference implementation of the DAIA protocol as open source Perl-module at CPAN. The implementation includes a simple DAIA validator and converter. A public installation of this validator is also available. The next tasks include implementing server and client components for several ILS software. Every library has its own special rules and schemas – Jonathan Rochkind already wrote about the problems to implement DAIA because of ILS complexity. We cannot erase this complexity by magic (unless we refactor and clean the ILS), but at least we can try to map it to a common data model – which DAIA provides.

Core components of the DAIA data model

With the DAIA Perl package you can concentrate on writing wrappers from your library systems to DAIA and easily consume and evaluate DAIA-encoded information. Why should everyone write its own routines to grab for instance the HTML OPAC output and parse availability status? One mapping to DAIA should fit most needs, so others can build upon. DAIA can not only be helpful to connect different library systems, but also to create mashups and services like „Show me on a map, where a given book is currently hold and available“ or „Send me a tweet if a given books in my library is available again“ – If you have more cool ideas for client applications, just let me know!

In the context of ILS Discovery Interface Task Force and their official recommendation DAIA implements the GetAvailability method (section 6.3.1). There are numerous APIs for several tasks in library systems (SRU/SRW, Z39.50, OpenSearch, OAI-PMH, Atom, unAPI etc.) but there was no open, usable standard way just to query whether a copy of given publication – for instance book – is available in a library, in which department, whether you can loan it or only use it in the library, whether you can directly get it online, or how long it will probably take until it is available again (yes, I looked at alternatives like Z39.50, ISO 20775, NCIP, SLNP etc. but they were hardly defined, documented, implemented and usable freely on the Web). I hope that DAIA is easy enough so non-librarians can make use of it if libraries provide an API to their system with DAIA. Extensions to DAIA can be discussed for instance in Code4Lib Wiki but I’d prefer to start with this basic, predefined services:

  • presentation: an item can be used inside the institution (in their rooms, in their intranet etc.).
  • loan: an item can be used outside of the institution (by lending or online access).
  • interloan: an tem can be used mediated by another institution. That means you do not have to interact with the institution that was queried for this item. This include interlibrary loan as well as public online ressources that are not hosted or made available by the queried institution.
  • openaccess: an item can be used imediately without any restrictions by the institution, you don’t even have to give it back. This applies for Open Access publications and free copies.


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