Creating a Scholarly API Cookbook: Supporting Library Users with Programmatic Access to Information




Application Programming Interface (API), Programmatic access, Z39.50, Machine-readable, Tutorial, Jupyter


Scholarly web-based application programming interfaces (APIs) allow users to interact with information and data programmatically. Interacting with information programmatically allows users to create advanced information query workflows and quickly access machine-readable data for downstream computations. With the growing availability of scholarly APIs from open and commercial library databases, supporting access to information via an API has become a key support area for research data services in libraries. This article describes our efforts with supporting API access through the development of an online Scholarly API Cookbook. The Cookbook contains code recipes (i.e., tutorials) for getting started with 10 different scholarly APIs, including for example, Scopus, World Bank, and PubMed. API tutorials are available in Python, Bash, Matlab, and Mathematica. A tutorial for interacting with library catalog data programmatically via Z39.50 is also included, as traditional library catalog metadata is rarely available via an API. In addition to describing the Scholarly API Cookbook content, we discuss our experiences building a student research data services programming team, challenges we encountered, and ideas to improve the Cookbook. The University of Alabama Libraries Scholarly API Cookbook is freely available and hosted on GitHub. All code within the API Cookbook is licensed with the permissive MIT license, and as a result, users are free to reuse and adapt the code in their teaching and research.


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How to Cite

Scalfani, V. F., Walker, K. W., Simpson, L., Fernandez, A. M., Patel, V. D., Ramig, A., … Nguyen, A. M. (2023). Creating a Scholarly API Cookbook: Supporting Library Users with Programmatic Access to Information. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (104).



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