Feedback on xIdentifier Use

Last month we asked you to share with us how you’re using the xIdentifier (xID) web services as we’re planning to invest increased effort in them. I'm happy to share some of the feedback that we received. If you aren’t familiar with them, the xID web services are comprised of three web services: xISBN, xOCLCNum, and xISSN. xISBN and xOCLCNumber cluster identifiers into work groups and allow the identifier and basic metadata for each edition in a particular work grouping to be retrieved. xISSN clusters identifiers for serials and exposes title splits, merges and changes. Relationships between serial titles can be retrieved via the service as well as basic serial metadata.

Your examples help us understand the problems being solved and the value added for these services. A few patterns that emerged: 

We find that people are using the services – primarily xISBN – to check for other editions . VUFind and Koha both have good examples of this in their user interfaces. Similarly, others are using these services to identify the most recent edition or to fulfill requests with similar items.

Other people are using the xID services to crosswalk between identifiers, and even to enhance metadata. An example of this would be using an ISBN to identify the corresponding OCLC number.

Though it didn’t surface in the feedback we received, we know another common use case is using the xISSN service to indicate in your display whether or not a journal is peer reviewed and to link to the latest Table of Contents.

In discussing these services internally, I also learned that you can use the xOCLCnum to check for free full text in Hathi Trust. And because these services all group by work, the really nice thing about using xOCLCnum to do this is that you can link to a related edition even if the specific edition you’re viewing doesn’t have full text available. (I’d love to know if anyone is doing this in production and would be interested in sharing that with the community.)

In terms of our future plans for these services, we are currently gathering information on several options for updating the technical infrastructure to provide a more efficient and effective service. And we are using your feedback to ensure that the xID services are fit for use from a user perspective.

Thank you for contributing to our understanding of how these services are being used day-to-day. As we work together, the knowledge and information you provide will inform our product and development plans.

If you’re using (or have evaluated) the xID services, please let us know your thoughts – comment here, respond to wc-devnet-l (subscribe here), or send me a note at DevNetAT]

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