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July 16, 2006



I think there is scope both for "mak[ing] services available so they can succeed or fail on their own merits" *and* "debating frameworks", and Talis for one is involved in doing and supporting both.

We have, for example, released our first set of Platform web services at http://www.talis.com/tdn/platform and they are being used in anger both by ourselves and by a range of third parties. They meet real needs, deliver real value, and provide an invaluable learning experience both in moving toward the next set of services (watch this space), but also in enabling a wide set of stakeholders to gain real insight into the issues involved in working this way rather than in the ways of the past.

We have also, as you know, sponsored the Mashing up the Library competition (www.talis.com/tdn/competition), which closes on 18 August. The competition is open to all comers, whether they use our web services or not, and we hope that it will help with the stimulus you're seeking.

Finally (for this comment, anyway!), the whole TDN site (tdn.talis.com/) offers a space and infrastructure for *libraries* to begin to do exactly what you suggest. At the moment, most of the APIs and equivalent content are those contributed to the community by ourselves, but it certainly doesn't need to remain that way. I welcome the opportunity to help others with content to share to get it on the site as well.

The old model of vendors building what customers told them to is less valuable than it used to be. The new fashion, though, of libraries seeking to do everything themselves ignores the value that vendor infrastructure, economies of scale and staff experience can bring to the party.

There is a middle ground, in which vendor skills and talents align with library skills and talents to deliver scalable, robust, sustainable and valuable services to library users.

Shall we look for it together?

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