|Geneva L. Henry|
Executive Director, Connexions and Digital Library Initiative
During the past year, the Digital Library Federation (DLF) Services Framework Working Group (SFG) has worked through a number of issues in trying to define a basis for developing a services framework for libraries and digital libraries. Throughout this process, it became clear to the working group members that the framework must capture the business logic of what people do in libraries and how users interact with libraries. There is currently a lack of documentation in this area, but it is critical to understand if we are going to consider developing systems that are nimble and can easily adapt to the changing library environments in which we live. Borrowing from principles that have been developed in Business Process Modeling (BPM) and in Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), the group has developed a light-weight approach for beginning to capture the business processes of the library and structuring them in a format that allows discrete business functions to be identified. These functions, emerging from various business areas of the library, are key to identifying activities that occur in multiple areas. Using a service oriented approach, it is then possible to look at a new way to develop systems to meet library needs. As stand-alone units of functionality take shape and can be translated to software components, these components can be developed once and reused many times, creating a plug-and-play architecture where new or better software components can be introduced without significant disruption.