Article

Developing a Web API for Interlibrary Loan Copyright Payments

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Abstract

Wayne State University Libraries (WSUL) pays copyright royalties for Interlibrary Loan (ILL) copy requests that exceed National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) guidelines. Prior to 2011, submitting requests to the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) required harvesting the necessary data from ILLiad and Innovative Interfaces’ Interlibrary Loan systems, validating the requests, and submitting a combined spreadsheet to CCC. A 2010 announcement from CCC indicated that they will no longer accept spreadsheets for invoicing. The alternative method of submitting requests involves using their web submission interface—which is time consuming and places a heavy burden on staff resources. In response, WSUL developed a .Net web-based application that automatically harvests, validates, and submits requests to CCC using their private application programming interface (API). The system interfaces with multiple ILL systems and submits payment lists automatically, removing the need to manually enter copyright orders. Initial estimates suggest a yearly reduction of over 500 hours in staff time when compared to the web submission method.

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... As a result of http://www.webology.org developing this web-based API, they were able to save nearly 500 hours a year on staff time (Sharpe & Gallagher, 2011). ...
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... Recent examples of resource-sharing system integration through application and software development reveal how much effect software solutions can have on library functions. For example, in 2011, Wayne State University created an application that connected data from its two systems, ILLiad and ArticleReach, and submitted orders to the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) API, saving over 500 staff hours per year spent paying royalties ( Sharpe & Gallagher, 2011, p. 137). Services such as CCC and the global library cooperative OCLC are ripe for integration, and the positive effect in saved time is evident, even with applications that are limited in scope. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to argue that academic librarians must learn to use web service APIs and to introduce APIs to a non-technical audience. Design/methodology/approach This paper is a viewpoint that argues for the importance of APIs by identifying the shifting paradigms of libraries in the digital age. Showing that the primary function of librarians will be to share and curate digital content, the paper shows that APIs empower a librarian to do that. Findings The implementation of web service APIs is within the reach of librarians who are not trained as software developers. Online documentation and free courses offer sufficient training for librarians to learn these new ways of sharing and curating digital content. Research limitations/implications The argument of this paper depends upon an assumption of a shift in the paradigm of libraries away from collections of materials to access points of information. The need for libraries to learn APIs depends upon a new role for librarians that anecdotal evidence supports is rising. Practical implications By learning a few technical skills, librarians can help patrons find relevant information within a world of proliferating information sources. Originality/value The literature on APIs is highly technical and overwhelming for those without training in software development. This paper translates technical language for those who have not programmed before.
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The application and IT ecosystem of academic libraries typically includes multiple systems, with crucial functions requiring using or sharing information between them. However, library systems are often not well integrated, making workflows and system interactions less than optimal for both staff and patrons. The method to integrate systems that the IDS Project took was to create a middleware platform, IDS Logic, that can connect multiple library systems and open or vendor web services to create the best resource sharing experience for staff and patrons. One specific application that is hosted within the IDS Logic middleware platform is Article Gateway, which uses resource-sharing technology and workflows to deliver fast or instant access to research material to users with little or no staff time and removes as many barriers to user access as possible. Where resource sharing has typically sought to deliver articles in one-to-two days, libraries using Article Gateway typically deliver a significantly higher percentage of articles to patrons within a few hours.
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