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Last edited by raybb
January 20, 2023 | History

Open Library Search API

Open Library provides an experimental API to search.

WARNING: This is an experimental API and can change in future.

URL format

The URL format for API is simple. Take the search URL and add .json to the end. Eg:

URL Parameters

Parameter Description
q The solr query. See Search HowTo for sample queries
fields The fields to get back from solr. Use the special value * to get all fields (although be prepared for a very large response!).
To fetch availability data from, add the special value, availability. Example: /search.json?q=harry%20potter&fields=*,availability&limit=1. This will fetch the availability data of the first item in the `ia` field.
sort You can sort the results by various facets such as new, old, random, or key (which sorts as a string, not as the number stored in the string). For a complete list of sorts facets look here (this link goes to a specific commit, be sure to look at the latest one for changes). The default is to sort by relevance.

Response Format

The response with be of the following format.

    "start": 0,
    "num_found": 629,
    "docs": [

Each document specified listed in "docs" will be of the following format:

    "cover_i": 258027,
    "has_fulltext": true,
    "edition_count": 120,
    "title": "The Lord of the Rings",
    "author_name": [
        "J. R. R. Tolkien"
    "first_publish_year": 1954,
    "key": "OL27448W",
    "ia": [
    "author_key": [
    "public_scan_b": true

The fields in the doc are described by Solr schema which can be found here:

The schema is not guaranteed to be stable, but most common fields (e.g. title, IA ids, etc) should be safe to depend on.


January 20, 2023 Edited by raybb Add key sort
January 20, 2023 Edited by raybb improve docs about sorting
October 7, 2022 Edited by Mek adding sort docs
February 5, 2022 Edited by Drini Text field no longer publicly visible
February 27, 2013 Created by Anand Chitipothu documented search API.