"Our users are used to searching and don't care for A-Z lists. We don't want to maintain a separate database of databases. Let's catalog the database record once, recycle it and use the discovery API to build a database search feature."
That was our thought when introducing our new web site. When filtering on databases Summon API was called and a relevancy ranked list was presented. But immediately voices were raised from researchers and post-graduates that they had difficulties using the tool. So, we decided to build a more traditional database list yet keeping the main principles:
To build a tool that facilitates discovery and provides additional features we had to use a source with more stringent meta data. Thus we dropped the Summon API and instead used the API from the original source. A team of librarians and IT-developers developed a database search feature and list that better met the needs of both students, faculty and librarians. We, the librarians, got an understanding about APIs. We also learned by painful experiences that to make MARC records at least a bit machine readable we need to catalog with thorough control. The IT-developers learned about the MARC reality we still live in.
The poster shows how records can be recycled and services integrated in a seemingly traditional, yet modern, database list. Attendees can learn that cataloging knowledge is essential but when developing new services you need to use the principles pragmatically. We hope to discuss how to re-use data in library applications in clever ways.