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Digital Library Federation (DLF) releases Technical Recommendation from ILS Discovery Interface Task Group

By Peter Brantley, Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation

Such standard interfaces will allow libraries to deploy new discovery services to meet ever-growing user expectations in the Web 2.0 era, take full advantage of advanced ILS data management and services, and encourage a strong, innovative community and marketplace in next-generation library management and discovery applications.

A group of eight professionals from major North American research libraries, including Patricia Martin, CDL Director of Bibliographic Services, prepared the recommendation during late 2007 and early 2008.  Members of the group surveyed the library community about their needs, made presentations, and held open discussions face to face and online with librarians, developers, and vendors.

In March, the DLF convened a meeting that brought together Task Group members and representatives of library system vendors and developers, and produced the “Berkeley Accord”, an agreement about the most essential and feasible interfaces to include in an initial set of interfaces.

This set of interfaces, called the “Basic Discovery Interfaces”, is described in detail in the new ILS-DI recommendation.  The recommendation also describes and recommends a variety of other functions to support higher levels of interoperability.

The Digital Library Federation has made the recommendation, and related materials prepared by the ILS-DI Task Group, available on the DLF website:


Besides the recommendations, this site includes links to presentations on the ILS-DI Task Group’s work, XML schemas used in the recommended formats for Basic Discovery Interfaces, information from the Task Group’s survey of library professionals, and links to example prototype implementations of the Basic Discovery Interfaces.

For the recommendations to be truly successful in promoting interoperability, they need to be implemented for ILS’s, and used in discovery applications.

Toward that end, the DLF is planning a developer’s workshop, in which those interested in implementing the Basic Discovery Interfaces can find out more about the recommendations, learn about the required interfaces and how they can be implemented, meet with potential partners for developing and using the interfaces, and form a development community that may help establish higher levels of interoperability and refine the recommendations into practical standards.  More information about this meeting will be released shortly.

The Berkeley Accord and the DLF ILS-DI recommendation are important first steps in building advanced, interoperable architectures for bibliographic discovery and use in the networked world.  We look forward to working with the library community, both non-profit and for-profit, in building on this work to enable the development of the best library services for research and learning.