[Eril-l] NISO Releases Draft FASTEN Recommended Practice for Public Comment

NISO Announce niso-announce at niso.org
Thu Oct 31 08:33:57 PDT 2019

*Baltimore, MD –* *October 31, 2019* – The National Information Standards
Organization (NISO) seeks comments on a new draft Recommended Practice
pertaining to the modernization of library-vendor technical
interoperability using RESTful web service application programming
interfaces (APIs) and standard mobile application intent calls. In the
interest of streamlining information transfer between vendor and library
systems, the scope of the draft *FASTEN* Recommended Practice touches on
areas such as login/authentication, account information, availability,
checkout, streaming options, and more. *FASTEN* is the acronym used for
this initiative, more formally titled as the *Flexible API Standard for
E-Content NISO*.

Since 2010 and the accompanying rise in library circulation of digital
content, libraries and vendors have sought to streamline and improve the
process of locating and accessing such materials. One key solution has been
the adoption of APIs, useful in handling behind-the-scenes transmissions
between systems. However, in today’s more complex library environment, with
its rich variety of digital content formats (audio, video, etc.), one of
the biggest challenges for a library user is understanding how to navigate
across the various platforms to access the specific format preferred.
Understandably, library digital patrons do not want (nor should they need)
to hold multiple accounts for each of the many platforms to which a library
may have licensed rights.

The objective behind the *FASTEN* initiative was to replace with more
elegant solutions aging, inflexible, and hard-to-use enterprise tools. This
required leaving behind disparate protocols, such as SIP, SIP2, proprietary
interfaces, web proxy solutions, and more.

The *FASTEN* Working Group was made up of product managers and developers
as well as university and public librarians,” notes Chris Carvey, Director
of Customer Interactive Experience at Queens Library and co-chair of the
*FASTEN* Working Group. “As a group, they identified the very real pain
points of the library user’s digital experience in the library and reviewed
current library and vendor practices. The next phase of the work was to
create a foundational API toolset that the community can build on to
satisfy user and library needs, whether the need be faster response times,
improved discovery of resources, better integration, or an enhanced user

“We covered every step of the experience, from log-in to return of digital
materials, basing our recommendations on the Library Communications
Framework (LCF) made available by BIC, Book Industry Communication,” agrees
Josh Weisman, Vice President, Development at ExLibris, the other co-chair
of the *FASTEN* Working Group. “We feel certain that any extra work that
vendors undertake to adopt this practice will be rewarded as libraries, and
their patrons, engage more fully with digital content in the context of a
more secure, private —and above all easy — and intuitive experience.”

“There may be more work ahead,” says Nettie Lagace, Associate Executive
Director of NISO, “but by implementing standards using RESTful Web services
APIs, vendors will be able to abandon some of the bulky toolsets of the
past, and thereby allow libraries more flexibility in meeting local needs.”

The Flexible API Standard for E-content NISO (*FASTEN*) Recommended
Practice is available for public comment between October 31 and November
30, 2019. To download the draft document or to submit comments, visit the
NISO Project page at: https://www.niso.org/standards-committees/fasten. All
input is welcome and encouraged.

*About NISO*
NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, fosters the development and maintenance
of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and
effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in
research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries,
publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support
learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization,
management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting
communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of information
standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American
National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO
website <https://www.niso.org/>.
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