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The fallacy of the multi-API culture: Conceptual and practical benefits of Representational State Transfer (REST)

Ruben Verborgh (iMinds, Multimedia Lab, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Seth van Hooland (Information and Communication Science Department,: Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium)
Aaron Straup Cope (Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, New York, USA)
Sebastian Chan (Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, New York, USA)
Erik Mannens (iMinds, Multimedia Lab, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Rik Van de Walle (iMinds, Multimedia Lab, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 9 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to revisit a decade after its conception the Representational State Transfer (REST) architectural style and analyzes its relevance to address current challenges from the Library and Information Science (LIS) discipline.

Design/methodology/approach

Conceptual aspects of REST are reviewed and a generic architecture to support REST is presented. The relevance of the architecture is demonstrated with the help of a case study based on the collection registration database of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Findings

The authors argue that the “resources and representations” model of REST is a sustainable way for the management of web resources in a context of constant technological evolutions.

Practical implications

When making information resources available on the web, a resource-oriented publishing model can avoid the costs associated with the creation of multiple interfaces.

Originality/value

This paper re-examines the conceptual merits of REST and translates the architecture into actionable recommendations for institutions that publish resources.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The described research activities were funded by Ghent University, the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT), the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO Flanders), and the European Union.

Citation

Verborgh, R., van Hooland, S., Cope, A.S., Chan, S., Mannens, E. and Van de Walle, R. (2015), "The fallacy of the multi-API culture: Conceptual and practical benefits of Representational State Transfer (REST)", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 71 No. 2, pp. 233-252. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-07-2013-0098

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited