XML and APIs: Perfect Together

This week’s formal announcement of the first three APIs for Google Book Search provides a frame for the “why” in StartWithXML: Why and How?

Although Google has confirmed just a few APIs, or application programming interfaces, the firm has clearly opened the door to making book content more easily searchable and findable and, through the use of some standard identifiers, more meaningful.

It’s that last part that makes the use of XML even more compelling. While the first set of tools naturally provides publishers with the ability to call attention to bodies of work (including reviews and ratings), it is easy to see that next-generation APIs, developed by Google and exploited by publishers, will allow users to search content much more deeply and finely than full-text search currently allows.

As those capabilities come online, the ability to provide structured content that includes reader-valued tags will greatly improve the search experience. While Google controls the search capability, publishers will be able to use APIs to develop compatible tools and employ XML to structure and tag content in ways that improve search results for the content they publish. Ultimately, relevance and visibility will drive awareness, trial and purchase.

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