February 08, 2005

Web Services and Metasearch – VIEWS on the subject

Talis is a founder member of VIEWS – the Vendor Initiative for Enabling Web Services.

VIEWS is an industry-wide cooperative effort to leverage libraries’ expertise in understanding, processing, and delivering information with the functional and practical efficiencies delivered through Web Services.

Read more about Talis and VIEWS

As a bit of a new boy to the world of standards bodies and the like, I was very intrigued to see what goes on in those international conference calls. Also what the process was that somehow ends up producing some of the the documents I have cursed in my time as a developer. Many is the time I have been known to mutter quite loudly “How the flipping-heck can they make the description of something simple, so complex and obscure!” Or similar words to that effect ;-}


So with a mixture of interest and trepidation I volunteered to be on the VIEWS sub-committee looking at Metasearch and how Web Services could be relevant in that area.


I have been banging on about proper integration for the last few years. By ‘proper’ I mean Web Services based, Service Oriented Architecture, real live integration. None of that whimpish ftp’ing batch scripts, or web site screen scraping for me.

So I get the feeling that my initial “lets see if we can recommend a SOAP/WSDL api for metasearch then” approach was a little extreme for some, who were looking to produce a paper that postulated on the possibility of Web Services in Metasearch being something worth investigating.


Still, like a good committee should, we ended up with what I think is a well-balanced paper, that at least recommends something sensible.


The White Paper has just been published, it is now up to us and the rest of VIEWS to take it beyond the recommending white paper stage. Time will tell.


You can find it here and here. And what did the new boy think of the process? Interesting, frustrating, time consuming, and rewarding, are words that come to mind. And yes I would volunteer again if I believe I can add value to the process and or the results. Which I hopefully did this time.


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