Web APIs: A Step towards Greater Mobility of User-Created Data across Social Networking Websites and Their Implications for Research in Information Behavior
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As Internet users are joining more online communities such as Facebook and MySpace, they are also becoming more prolific content creators. But unfortunately, the task of managing and exchanging content between their various online social networking (SN) communities remains cumbersome and time consuming. This is primarily because most of websites “lock” users’ data on their servers and do not provide an effective/efficient data sharing and exchange protocols. A better way for users to integrate and exchange data across online SN communities is to use web APIs (Application Programming Interface) – a mechanism that allows a site to provide “back door” access to its content and services via a standardized machine-readable protocol. Any website can deploy web APIs to allow its users to integrate data from external sites. As these new technologies and techniques become more widely available, it will make user-created data even more mobile. This will likely lead to some changes in users’ information behaviours.