The following provides a definition of open source book widgets. It is useful for defining the scope of the collaboration.
Book widgets are small programs that provide book related functions, e.g., show a book cover, link to book details, show book availability.
- Widget is a generic term for plugins, modules and other similar software components.
- Widgets often have a graphical interface, e.g., book cover image, links.
- They often reside on web pages and so are distributed across the web. This is an interesting feature, as it may affect search results for books.
- They often call one or more servers for their data., e.g., Amazon, Google, LibraryThing, Open Library, WorldCat.
- The programs tend to be specific to a platform, e.g., WordPress, Drupal, Firefox. Server platforms such as WordPress and Drupal require the website author to install the widget; all users can see the widget. Client platforms such as Firefox require the user to install the widget; only users who have installed the plugin can see the widget.
- Widgets are portable. They are easily embedded or modified in their target environment.
- Widgets may accept user input, e.g., configuration for a particular book data source or library.
- Widgets may be able to interact with each other to provide enhanced functionality.
- There are many book widgets available on the web, but many of them are closed source. The current collaboration is particularly interested in open source book widgets. There are many different open source licenses, but for the current purpose of collaboration, the more open the license the better. The GNU General Public License is a good example of an open license.