Request for feedback on an OPDS catalog API

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Joe Wicentowski

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May 13, 2013, 5:39:00 PM5/13/13
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Dear OPDS Community,

I have completed a first draft of an OPDS Catalog-based API for my
office's publications that are available as ebooks. The final version
will be released later this month as part of the Obama
Administration's Digital Government Strategy initiative, which
encourages government agencies to release data via APIs. I am writing
to request feedback from the OPDS community on the catalog.

The direct link to the feed is http://history.state.gov/data/catalog,
and the API documentation is http://history.state.gov/developer. The
feed is generated dynamically from the database of our publications
(using eXist-db on the back end), and currently offers three primary
navigation feeds from the root: view all publications, view the most
recent 10, and browse by keyword. This is our first public API, so
I'd appreciate any types of suggestions -- on the feed itself, on the
API documentation, etc.

In terms of testing I have already run the OPDS Validator
(http://opds-validator.appspot.com) on the feed and the subfeeds, and
everything I've tried passes (except requests for resources that don't
exist, for which I return 404 errors instead of an empty feed). I've
also put the feed through two iOS apps (ShuBook and MegaReader), and
they're working quite nicely.

Best regards,
Joe

--
Joseph C. Wicentowski, Ph.D.
Historian
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Public Affairs
Office of the Historian
Division of Declassification and Publishing
2401 E Street, NW, Room L409
Washington, DC 20522
Tel: (202) 663-1127
Fax: (202) 663-1289
Email: wicent...@state.gov
Web: http://history.state.gov

Hadrien Gardeur

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Jun 6, 2013, 7:24:37 PM6/6/13
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Hello Joe,

Sorry for the late reply but I've been traveling a lot lately...

This looks like a perfectly nice and valid catalog. If I had to change something, I would actually add more links in both entries and feeds.

Being able to browse books using People/Places/Topics in navigation feeds is very nice, but this could also be available as links in an entry.
Let's say that I'm viewing the entry for a book about Kennedy: providing directly a link to other books about Kennedy would be extremely useful.

Another thing you might want to do is to provide more feed-level links, either to showcase specific feeds (see our root catalog feed at Feedbooks for an example) or to enable faceted navigation (here's an example).
Few clients support those links and facets yet (there's some support in Mantano and Aldiko on Android) but I expect things to change, and this will enable some super cool catalog navigation in the future.

Best regards,
Hadrien
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