The following article originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter. You can purchase that issue, which contains more of Marshall Breeding's expert analysis of the library automation industry, at http://bit.ly/9Cosm1.
In a move that opens the massive WorldCat database to external developers, OCLC has released a limited set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to programmers outside of its direct membership. OCLC has offered a more robust API to affiliated organizations for more than a year. Releasing an API to external, unaffiliated developers, may open up new opportunities that enable library-created bibliographic data to be used in new types of applications.
Dubbed the WorldCat Basic API, a limited number of Web services have been exposed for non-commercial use. OCLC also offers the WorldCat Search API, which provides programmatic access to complete bibliographic records. OCLC limits access to the full WorldCat Search API to qualified institutions.
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