I don’t where to begin with this. I have just read several different blogs/emails/releases all about this amazing leap for the open source ILS & other open source library tools.
Let’s start with:
So anyway, here’s the skinny: IndexData, , and CARE Affiliates have partnered to create a service they’ve dubbed OpenTranslators. In a nutshell, this service makes any of the some 10,000 databases for which WebFeat has developed search connections available to be searched through SRU or Z39.50. In [one] stroke, they have made all of these sources available for searching by any application that can work with one of these protocols.
I don’t mind saying that this solution also addresses one of my deep, long-term beefs with the present metasearch market. Traditionally, database gateways have been hidden behind closely held proprietary APIs, and generally each vendor has painstakingly developed their own set of gateways. This practice has set the bar of entry into the market very high and has effectively stifled competition. It has also meant that resources that could have otherwise been expended on innovation and better user experiences have instead been wasted on redundant database connector development. Our interest is in developing new, exciting applications, and supporting others who are coming up with cool stuff and new services.
And lastly, the press release:
OpenTranslators will allow libraries to use the federated search interface of their choice to access over 10,000 databases using SRU/SRW/Z39.50. The databases consist of: licensed databases, free databases, catalogs, Z39.50, Telnet and proprietary databases. Libraries that already have a Z39.50 client in their OPAC will be able to connect to, not only library catalogs, but also thousands of additional databases. Those libraries that are building or already using an open source federated search tool will now be able to expand the world of information that can be accessed. Finally, for those institutions/organizations building new mashup clients, this will allow them to access and use vast amounts of additional content.
This is such a big step for libraries and open source! At least – I think it is 😉 This is certainly something I will be keeping an eye on.
[update] It seems that I (and many others) may have jumped the gun on excitement. Check out some of the valid questions made by Sol at the Federated Search blog. I will be doing a lot of reading on this in the following week and see if I can come to understand it all just a bit better. [/update]