Brown has developed something called EasyBorrow that consists of a number of APIs that allow students to do one search and one ILL request. The system seems to work off of a number of custom APIs, most of which could be useful in creating a similar system for us.
The process as I seem to understand it.
- Brown seems to have re-purposed SFX (their link resolver…like SerialsSolutions…but better…however I’m a bit biased :) ). They’ve set it up to do a number of things:
- First they set up the z39.50 lookup feature in SFX so that if the item exists in the library catalog it redirects users directly to the record in the library catalog. I’m sure SS has something like this which is probably easy enough to set up.
- Second if the book doesn’t exist in the catalog, they seem to redirect users to an easyBorrow search. This is easy enough to set up in SFX since the architecture is open. Whether or not something like this is possible with SS is another question.
- This seems to lead me to some questions for Jean:
- Where is the 360 Link Documentation?
- Can I attend these webinars without us paying for it?
- Next, Brown requires users to authenticate…once. In their documentation on easyBorrow they indicated they are using LDAP. How did they make this work? Did they set up an LDAP authentication API? How do Wheaton College users currently authenticate for the different ILL options we offer and are those different authentication methods connected somehow.
- Question for Elliot: Can you walk me through the ILL process as we explain it to users?
- Question for Kim: Can you walk me through how ILL requests get processed?
- Question for Mary: Can you walk me through how InRhode requests get processed?
- Question for Brian: Does LDAP have an API (because it might scare me if it does)?
- General Question: Brown discusses III’s Patron Services API. This allows them to pull information from the III catalogs, ILLiad (their ILL borrowing system), and develop a staff interface that shows failures and successes in the easyBorrow searches they do (one for each catalog). Where can I get documentation about III’s API? Do we have to pay to use the API? I wonder if my friend Carol knows (she works at a III library and is interested in doing similar things)?
- The remainder of the system seems simple enough (if I can get API documentation for our different systems). Since I would imagine Brown is already checking InRhode, HELIN, and WorldCat we could just ask for their code.
I think the hardest pieces will be the authentication and the ILL, particularly ILL. We may need to look at lending as a whole to figure out the best way to go about this. Brown is working with a lot of automated systems but our ILL isn’t automated the same. This goes back to something we talked about in the web team meetings…making InRhode and ILL borrowing seem more seamless. This system will help do that but i wonder if we would need to do some work on the department level to make it even more seamless (there she goes again…stirring up trouble).
All in all though, I think that this might be doable, assuming Brown wants to share their code.
Some things for me to take a look at: