Category Archives: Code/API

API with RDF/XML output available

It is now possible to access Open Library book metadata in an  RDF/XML format. The access is through the RESTful API. For an example, view:

The returned RDF/XML relies heavily on Dublin Core metadata terms, and uses some elements from bibliontology and the registered RDA schemas. Although soundly based on RDF, the output can be used like any XML and presents (most of) the Open Library metadata in the easily understood Dublin Core terms.

It has been suggested that this format include links to cover images, where available. It is also on our list to add tables of contents to the output. Other suggestions are very welcome — add them here, or send them to the ol-tech discussion list.

We’d love to hear about the uses you make of this API, and anything we can do to help you get more out of the Open Library.

New Right-to-Left Capability in Book Reader

Nearly 11,000 Yiddish books (half of all Yiddish books ever published) recently went online through the Internet Archive in cooperation with the National Yiddish Book Center‘s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library. As part of this project, we’ve upgraded the Internet Archive Book Reader to support the right-to-left page progression of Yiddish books. Here is an example.

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OpenBook WordPress Plugin

The OpenBook WordPress Plugin by John Miedema can be used to easily reference books from inside your WordPress blog and automatically pull covers and book data from Open Library.

We’re quite excited to see people using Open Library and building new tools using our public APIs.

Here’s an example of using the plugin:

[openbook booknumber=”0143034650″]

This book was pulled in by using this tag in the WordPress post:
[openbook booknumber="0143034650"]

The “booknumber” in this case is an ISBN book identifier and is causing a search behind the scenes.

You can also use the Open Library opaque IDs to refer to a book when the ISBN isn’t available (e.g. for books published before ISBN existed!)

In that case your link would look like this:
[openbook booknumber="/b/OL14015131M"]

Many of the Open Library books (particularly older ones) do not have a cover associated with them, but you can add one from the Open Library page for that book!

The OpenBook article in the Code4Lib journal describes some of the design decisions and implementation. (Note: the article mentions the old [openbook]0864921535[/openbook] way of using the openbook shortcode. The newer [openbook booknumber="0864921535"] style should now be used instead.)