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Worldcat (and other) APIs


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Slides from a presentation I gave at the 2012 annual meeting of the Music Library Association in Dallas, Texas, February 16, 2012.

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Worldcat (and other) APIs

  1. 1. Worldcat (and other) APIs Steve Henry University of Maryland
  2. 2. What is an API?• An “Application Programming Interface.”• Wikipedia: An application programming interface (API) is a source code based specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other. An API may include specifications for routines, data structures, object classes, and variables.
  3. 3. Huh??• You use it to pass information between two programs, often on the Web• Web-based API = “Web services”
  4. 4. Two Kinds of APIs• SOAP – We don’t care about this one• REST – This is the one you want• What’s a RESTful API – I don’t really know, but it looks like an OPAC canned search
  5. 5. Canned OPAC Searches• Base: –• Path – F/?• Query Parameters (“?” signals start of parameters): – func=find-c& – ccl_term=(wsu=texas+rock+music)• c&ccl_term=(wsu=texas+rock+music)
  6. 6. RESTful API Requests• They look similar to canned OPAC searches• Base: –• Path – webservices/catalog/search/opensearch?• Query – q=texas%20rock%20music& – wskey=p21UMn6mINQV2uXvborGIWDxYMG7YxwnkE SLcxFQrpcwPog0cUDylripgHgzJkx93o2fPPHT1OldL8LE
  7. 7. All Together Now• /search/opensearch?q=texas%20rock&wskey= p21UMn6mINQV2uXvborGIWDxYMG7YxwnkE SLcxFQrpcwPog0cUDylripgHgzJkx93o2fPPHT1 OldL8LE
  8. 8. Another Example• Base –• Path – webservices/catalog/content/53138893? – Note: an OCLC number is part of the path• Queries (Developer Key in this case) – wskey=6omTbWBPu4oEuQ4gnXEx2YwjwMfQMDD zOoVubVlEackZrX9r0yKs7u7hmUiABnXH85bUunlQ Euyoz9iD
  9. 9. Single Record in MARCxml• /content/53138893?wskey=6omTbWBPu4oEu Q4gnXEx2YwjwMfQMDDzOoVubVlEackZrX9r0 yKs7u7hmUiABnXH85bUunlQEuyoz9iD
  10. 10. Other Worldcat APIs•• Basic API (Open to anyone) • Only allows un-fielded keyword search • Results in RSS, Atom, or formatted citations only• Search API (For institutions contributing to Worldcat) • More options for searching and output than Basic API• xISBN (Retrieves related ISBNs)• Identities (names, corporate names, subjects)
  11. 11. Using APIs with Yahoo Pipes• An example in Yahoo Pipes – mple – This pipe simply allows you to search Worldcat using an API request rather than the Worldcat interface. This is how you would create a widget for Libguides for example – To see under the hood, create a Yahoo account and click “view source” – You can also clone the pipe and experiment with making changes
  12. 12. Mashing It UP• An example using both the Worldcat Basic API and the Last.FM API – – (You might need to click “Run pipe” before seeing results) – This one uses the Last.FM to retrieve the last few tracks a user has heard – Album and artist info are retrieved and used to build a query to search the Worldcat API – Worldcat search results than are presented with links into Worldcat – You can view results for a different user simply by entering a user in the search box
  13. 13. Useful Books• Engard, Nicole. Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data. Medford N.J.: Information Today Inc., 2009.• Matthews, Martin. Dynamic Web Programming: a Beginner’s Guide. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.• Makice, Kevin. Twitter API: Up and Running. Sebastopol Calif.: O’Reilly, 2009.• Pruett, Mark. “Yahoo! Pipes”. Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly, 2007.
  14. 14. Links• OCLC Web Services –• Last.FM API –• Yahoo Pipes –• Handout from a workshop on Yahoo Pipes, RSS feeds, and Worldcat –• Running Bibliography on Music, APIs, and Libraries – mashups-for-libraries/• Me –