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New Feature: You can now embed Open Library books on your website!   Learn More
Last edited by Charles Horn
October 19, 2018 | History

Developers / API

Open Library has developed a suite of APIs to help developers get up and running with our data. We encourage interested developers to join the ol-tech mailing list to stay up-to-date with the latest news, or dive in with our own development team at our bug tracker or our GitHub source code repository.


Open Library has a RESTful API, best used to link into Open Library data in JSON, YAML and RDF/XML. There's also an earlier JSON API, which is deprecated now. This is only retained for backward compatibility.

You can also return bibliographic data by simply adding an .rdf/.json/.yml extension to the end of any OL bibliographic identifier. There are also links on pages to RDF and JSON versions of Works, Editions and Authors.

Read APIs

Access to Records in Bulk

Our API should not be used for bulk download of Open Library data. If you want a dump of complete data, please read about your Bulk Download options, or email us at info@.

Open Library in the Wild

Several developers are creating amazing things with the Open Library APIs:

  • Trove by the National Library of Australia
    Trove is a new discovery experience focused on Australia and Australians. It supplements what search engines provide with reliable information from Australia's memory institutions. The system hits Open Library when public domain books turn up in searches, and displays links to Open Library.
  • Koha
    Koha is an open source library system for public libraries that includes catalog searches and member organizing. It uses Open Library covers, displays OL related subjects, and lendable eBooks using the Read API.
  • Evergreen
    Evergreen is highly-scalable software for libraries that helps library patrons find library materials, and helps libraries manage, catalog, and circulate those materials. It uses Open Library for covers, tables of contents, with plans to expand into other areas.
  • by the Library of Congress
    OK, this isn't exactly Open Library, but it's still awesome! The Library of Congress have modified the Internet Archive's Book Reader to sit perfectly within their Rare Books Collection site.
  • OpenBook WordPress Plug-in by John Miedema
    OpenBook is useful for anyone who wants to add book covers and other book data on a WordPress website. OpenBook links to detailed book information in Open Library, the main data source, as well as other book sites. Users have complete control over the display through templates. OpenBook can link to library records by configuring an OpenURL resolver or through a WorldCat link. OpenBook inserts COinS so that other applications like Zotero can pick up the book data.
  • Open Library Firefox Search Plug-in by Jeff Kaplan
    Search Open Library from your Firefox toolbar!
  • Umlaut by Jason Ronallo
    Umlaut is a middle-tier OpenURL link resolver that adds functions and services to commercial link resolving software.
  • Virtual Shelf by Jonathan Breitbart and Devin Blong (UC Berkeley School of Information)
    The Virtual Shelf is a visualization created by two students at the UC Berkeley School of Information. The project includes the student's master thesis, with research into the searching and browsing patterns of library patrons. The Open Library RESTful API was utilized during the project as a source of metadata for the user interface.
  • RDC UI Toolkit by Rural Design Collective
    This group created a suite of tools that facilitates the creation of localized user interfaces for public domain books. The RDC used the Open Library Covers API and the Internet Archive Book Reader in their online demonstration customized for the OLPC XO.

Are you using the Open Library APIs? We'd love to hear about it! Please email us at info@.


October 19, 2018 Edited by Charles Horn update github url
October 11, 2013 Edited by Anand Chitipothu converted absolute links to to relative.
February 27, 2013 Edited by Anand Chitipothu added link to search API.
September 7, 2012 Edited by OL-00 corrected typo
November 12, 2009 Created by George Building out the sitemap