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A SOAP-Enabled System for an Online Library Service
This paper describes an application of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) technology to improve the performance of a prototype web-enabled system, DocMorph, developed at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, an R&D division of the National Library of Medicine. DocMorph provides online information processing such as file format conversion (e.g., from about 50 file formats to PDF), extraction of text from image files, and the conversion of document images or word processing files to speech using a combination of OCR and speech synthesis. In the 2 3/4 years of its operation, many of DocMorph's more than 4,000 registered users have submitted more than 56,000 jobs to the system. This amounts to 55 GB of data, or about 600,000 document pages. Most submissions are for the conversion of TIFF images to PDF, enabling platform-independent document delivery and easier usage of the documents. While DocMorph serves as a useful tool for a user community, we are using it as a research and development test bed to seek better ways of processing library information. One area investigated was improved performance for users submitting multiple files at a time for conversion to PDF. SOAP promises to be an effective technology for this purpose because it enables the design of a client software program called MyMorph that allows a more efficient conversion process than submitting files via a web browser. The integration of SOAP into DocMorph gives users the option of accessing it either via MyMorph or via web browsers.