At present, the Oceania sites are running off of four or more code bases (active, sf active, activismo, dada...). There are advantages if we can define a common API for search/retrieve and other operations. Luckily, we don't have to re-invent the wheel. The library world defined an API for distributed search called Z39.50. This is large and complex, but the "next generation" version (called ZiNG) is designed for use over the web. In particular, we can learn from the proposed standard for search & retrieve via URLs (ZiNG/SRU) and the common query language (CQL) they have defined.

SRU queries return a simple XML document, which can then be further manipulated.

I suggest that there are advantages to adopting a common API for search across the various sites. In particular, this would allow us to use Oceania to trigger a search across all the oceania sites -- each site handling its own search, and responding to an accumulator at oceania.

Suggested action:
  • agree on field names
  • create a standard URL of the form [site]/search?query=XXXX
  • agree on meaning of XXX above
  • have the URL above return a standard XML file

Do others think this is a good idea?

More on SearchAPI

-- RomanO - 09 Jul 2004
Topic revision: r2 - 14 Jul 2004, RomanO
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