Use Case Description
Activity – Aggregator offers API access to aggregation; tools built on aggregation; and/or tools built to manage aggregation. The APIs/Tools offered can be exploited by developers in the community to build services; more effectively manage local collections and more effectively contribute to the aggregation.
Actors – Aggregation service; Developers and other third parties
Data involved – Metadata of any kind within the aggregation; data mined from the aggregation; Data being used or provided by developers
Workflows – There is no single workflow to describe this use case, and the current examples maybe the best mechanism to understand the possible workflows. Workflows will include some element of a third party (whether a contributor to the aggregation or not) being able to access data and associated tools.
Current Examples – Talis have launched the Kasabi platform (in public beta at time of writing 1st August 2011) which brings together data sets and provides tools and APIs across them
Google’s search API includes a ‘spell check’ facility http://code.google.com/apis/soapsearch/reference.html#1_3 – this spell check works on the basis of aggregating user behaviour when interacting with Google search; spell checkers could also benefit from the corpus of words in the aggregation
Google Refine (previously Freebase Gridworks) is a data manipulation tool which can help clean or otherwise manipulate data, and match (‘reconcile’) data entered with data in an existing aggregation (Freebase). This tool was developed by Freebase developers to solve data clean problems they already had; it was then offered to the wider community as a free tool with a quid pro quo that whenever a user ‘reconciles’ data, there is the opportunity to enrich Freebase as well as correct local data
Yahoo’s YQL is “an expressive SQL-like language that lets you query, filter, and join data across Web services”. While it can be used with any web based resource, it has specific hooks into Yahoo services like Flickr, Yahoo Maps, Yahoo Answers, Yahoo Search, Yahoo Mail etc. etc. which allows easy creation of queries against these specific sources.
OCLC offer a number of services based on their aggregation including the xISBN lookup service and their general Search API
LibraryThing offers a number of services based on its aggregation including thingISBN, thingtitle and thingLang. These services all offer API access to data that can be ‘mined’ from LibraryThing’s aggregation.
Benefits – What is the business case?
Data owner – Data owners may benefit from greater exposure of their resources through third party developments; they may also be able to enhance their local resource discovery service by taking advantage of the tools and services offered by the aggregation service; finally they may also benefit from the services built by third party developers
End Users – In this use case, developers are the intended ‘users’, and they benefit from access to APIs; fit for purpose tools developed by specialists; services based on large data aggregations not easily built otherwise
Aggregators – Aggregator becomes a platform, woven in to the fabric of resource discovery and as such becomes indispensable; aggregator may be able to charge for some aspects of APIs/services/Tools, or may be able to offer custom developments based on APIs/Tools offered freely