How the OCLC WorldShare Platform works
The OCLC WorldShare Platform exposes data via Web Services and APIs in a consistent, structured way for librarians, developers, and 3rd party partners to reuse, remix and recontextualize. Different systems and data streams from multiple vendors can be unified into a single, neutral workspace.
Apps can be built by OCLC, libraries or partners and then submitted to the App Gallery. Once submitted, OCLC staff will ensure that an app functions as expected then make it available through the WorldShare App Gallery, where it can be shared with the community. Library staff and users can then install apps into the same space used to manage collections and workflows.
The more libraries, developers and partners that participate, the more useful the platform becomes.
Discoverable Web services
The OCLC WorldShare Platform provides access to a wide range of Web services. These machine-to-machine services, known as APIs, connect user interfaces to underlying data and make it possible for people to create value for members of the library community by creating apps that work inside OCLC products and in other environments.
Data services + business logic services = Web Services
The APIs available through the OCLC WorldShare Platform are a combination of 'data services' and 'business logic services' (collectively, 'Web Services') that can be used by OCLC and third-party applications. Data services provide direct read and write access to the core library data: WorldCat, the WorldCat Registry, WorldCat knowledge base, WorldCat Terminologies and WorldCat Identities. Business logic services, meanwhile, provide access to business and transactional service functions such as core circulation, authentication, acquisitions and license management.
The OCLC WorldShare Platform includes read and read/write Web services. Some services have been available for awhile already, such as the WorldCat Search API, xISBN and xISSN services. Others are new, such as an NCIP service that supports check-in, check-out and request messages, several acquisitions-related services, and the WorldCat knowledge base API.
Library data and supply chains
The library data made available through WorldCat and the WorldShare Platform includes millions of articles, e-books and visual materials, along with maps, scores, sound recordings, serials, conference proceedings, archival materials, Internet resources, books and more. Going forward, WorldCat and the WorldShare Platform will connect to even more data about libraries:
- More data about the library's "collective collection": licensed materials, special collections, open access materials
- More institutional data: vendor records, patron data and library information, such as open hours and lending policies
- Transactional and workflow data: acquisitions and circulations data, resolver transactions, knowledge base transactions, search and interlibrary lending
An environment for collective innovation
The OCLC WorldShare App Gallery provides a framework for the library development community and third-party service providers to make use of OCLC Web and data services to create and share apps and integrate them into their local workflows. For many applications, a simple point-and-click installation option allows staff to identify an app of interest and embed that new functionality into an existing OCLC product interface. Libraries can enhance a product’s functionality by adding an app right in their current workspace, in the context of a specific workflow.
The OCLC WorldShare Platfom uses OpenSocial technology, with Apache Shindig as the software containers. Several large organizations such as Google, Yahoo!, Ning and Elsevier use OpenSocial, and it is fast becoming the industry-standard way of integrating apps and data. OpenSocial provides unique opportunities for provider-neutral sharing and an alternative to the "walled garden" approach of many propriety, closed systems.