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Developer Network Pre-requisites

What do you need to understand to work with OCLC APIs? It is not all that different from working with our end user services. Just like a web browser gets HTML for people to consume, sometimes you want it optimized for machine processing. Maybe you want to

  • build an alternate interface;
  • query data for the ILL activities in your library;
  • use the data from WorldCat with other data, say from a national library

These are some of the pre-conditions you will need to understand to make your work go smoothly.

Basic knowledge of Web services

If you have an idea, for example, a really good idea for working with bibliographic data, you are in the right place. We have lots of it, but you or your staff will need to be able to access it via the Web services or data sets available from OCLC.

In order to get up and running we will assume you have a basic understanding of the following concepts.

  • Requesting machine readable data over HTTP
  • Library standards like NCIP
  • Authenticating to Web services through the use of API keys
  • The Web service authentication standard OAuth
  • The principles behind consuming from RESTful APIs
    • Interaction with our servers via the mechanisms of HTTP
    • Content-Negotiation for access data the way you want it
  • Parsing machine data formats like XML and JSON
  • Atom Publishing Protocol
  • Data modeling processes for decomposing data into discrete resources

Need to learn more about these concepts? See our FAQ.

What we do at OCLC

If you  haven't worked with OCLC Web services before, knowing a little about the following areas will provide context to the APIs you will encounter on the Developer Network.

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Learn more »