[Koha] Koha became a little more of a certainty last night

Dan Scott denials at gmail.com
Wed Oct 24 05:20:27 NZDT 2007

On 23/10/2007, Joe Atzberger <ohiocore at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 10/19/07, ils shopping <ils.shopping at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Our system administrator once again assured me he can output all the
> > MARC data as a standard file and that he can give me files for
> > individual details such as item, hold, call number, and user data.
> >
> > Most of the data other than MARC will be in delimited with "|".  We
> > don't have alot of experience with SQL loading but he came up with a
> > pretty interesting thought on sharing the process of migrating data
> > out of Sirsi Unicorn.  Apparently they have a site for the storing of
> > API data.  He proposed posting the information there so that other
> > sites needing the information would have access without raising legal
> > problems for the Koha project.
> >
> Glad to hear of your Board's support for migration.
> The two main venues for discussion and sharing of Unicorn API code are
> Sirsi's client care forum and the "API Repository" at http://sirsiapi.org/
> The former is directly controlled by Sirsi, the latter indirectly.  As
> you'll notice from following that link, neither is sufficiently open to
> allow those interested access, without a current account or the company's
> "API certification" ( i.e., spending ~$5000 and a week of your time in
> their classes).  While the other folks on those sites might be interested, I
> don't think it makes sense to impose that threshold on libraries hoping or
> intending to leave Unicorn, or to trust SirsiDynix to host material that is
> works effectively against their business interests.
> Something like sourceforge or any other public site would be better.  (And
> to be honest, the repository sees very little activity anyway.)  In general
> though, I think you are right that there are a lot of Unicorn sites out
> there, and many of them will be considering or actively pursuing the exact
> same kind of tasks your library is about to undertake.
> --joe atzberger
> _______________________________________________
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> Koha at lists.katipo.co.nz
> http://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha

I would strongly suggest posting the code to the sirsiapi repository. I'm
not a lawyer, but (to my understanding) sirsiapi.org is the only
SirsiDynix-sanctioned location for hosting code that uses the Unicorn "API"
to extract information from Unicorn. Sites that have signed a contract with
SirsiDynix for Unicorn typically have agreed to not reverse-engineer the
product (meaning that they agree to not try and figure out how the Unicorn
"API" works) and if they have taken the "API" training course then they have
agreed to not share any of that information (including code examples)
outside of the SirsiDynix-sanctioned locations.

I would be concerned on behalf of the library posting Unicorn "API" code to
a public site like SourceForge.net that they could be opening themselves up
to lawsuits due to breach of contract, if the vendor was to get to such a
bad state that they started suing their (former) customers.

Any code dealing with the results of using the Unicorn "API" to extract data
should be openly shareable, because at that point you're just dealing with
data structures. But I would be worried about openly sharing the actual
commands, err, "API instructions" required to get that data out of the

While I realize this may not make a whole lot of sense, what makes sense
from a common sense perspective does not necessarily make sense from a legal
perspective. Then again, I am not a lawyer (far from it), so take my concern
for what it's worth.

Dan Scott
Laurentian University
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