Web service for the free book usage data

I’ve been meaning to get around to adding a web service front end on to the book usage data that we released in December for ages. So, better late than never, here it is!

It’s not the fastest bit of code I’ve ever written, but (if there’s enough interest) I could speed it up.

The web service can be called a couple of different ways:

1) using an ISBN

Examples:
a) http://library.hud.ac.uk/api/usagedata/isbn=0415014190 (“Language in the news”)
b) http://library.hud.ac.uk/api/usagedata/isbn=159308000X (“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”)

Assuming a match is located, data for 1 or more items will be returned. This will include FRBR style matching using the LibraryThing thingISBN data, as shown in the second example where we don’t have an item which exactly matches the given ISBN.

2) using an ID number

Examples:

a) http://library.hud.ac.uk/api/usagedata/id=125120 (“Language and power”)

The item ID numbers are included in the suggestion data and are the internal bibliographic ID numbers used by our library management system.

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edit 1: I should also have mentioned that the XML returned is essentially the same format as described here.
edit 2: Ive now re-written the code as a mod_perl script (to make it faster when using ISBNs) and slightly altered the URL


 

4 thoughts on “Web service for the free book usage data”

  1. Awesome, I think I’ll totally use the suggestions in Umlaut.

    Do you use OCLC numbers or US Library of Congress numbers in your catalog? If so, it would be awesome if those could be used as access points too.

    You realize the next step, right? Figure out a way for someone else who can figure out how to track usage in their catalog to send you data in a standard format, so you can include data from other libraries as input into your grouping algorithms too.

  2. Jonathan — the next step is already happening :-)

    I don’t think the project web site has gone live yet, but the JISC funded MOSAIC Project (an extension of the TILE Project) is working with several UK libraries to collate and mine circulation data.

    The ISBN call is a little slow at the moment, because I’m using a text file containing ISBN to (bibliographic) ID mappings. I’ll do some coding to turn the script into a mod_perl script that can load those mappings into memory.

    For Umlaut, would it be useful to have an extra URL parameter that tells the script just to return the suggestions?

    We don’t currently make use of OCLC/LoC numbers, but I’ll check to see if any of our MARC records contain them.

  3. Yeah, just the suggestions would be fine if it’s quicker; having the extra stuff there doesn’t bother me though.

    What would be REALLY convenient is if the ISBN’s of the related works could come with some bibliographic details. Title, author, maybe publisher and year. So I wouldn’t have to look them up again myself. Not sure if that would be inconvenient to implement on your end though.

    That MOSAIC thing, are you sharing your data with that project, then? Is there a way for a non-UK library to participate?

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