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Last edited by Jessamyn West
October 10, 2013 | History

Using Open Library Data

Who owns the Open Library catalog?

You do! Our catalog was created by the generous donations of libraries who dedicated their data into the public domain. Our data are available for bulk download in original form through the Internet Archive.

We ask that any and all contributions you make to Open Library be given under the following Creative Commons license: CC0 1.0 Universal license.

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Does Open Library have an API?

Yes. Please see the API subsection of our Developers section for more information and examples.

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Can I download Open Library?

Yes. There are a few different ways you can make use of Open Library.

A quick trip to the Developers section of the site will reveal that you can: a) install your own instance of Open Library, b) access Open Library data via a variety of APIs, or download the entire catalog.

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Can I download a small piece of Open Library? Say, just three records?

The best way to download small sets of records is to make a List on Open Library, and then export it. You'll see the export options available on the List's main page.

We plan to explore partnerships or integrations with other open source Integrated Library Systems (ILS), with a view to providing easy access to small sets of free catalog records within in existing tools. It seems that it might be useful for a librarian to collect records around a particular topic using Open Library, and then use their existing ILS to access Open Library source records.

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Can I export a bibliography?

Yes. Any List you create on Open Library can be exported in either HTML, JSON or BibTex.

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I have a bunch of book records to share with Open Library. How do I do that?

Please see the instructions on Bulk Uploading.

This process is clunky at the moment, but it's a start and something we're looking to improve upon. The goal is eventually enable a library of any size, whether personal or institutional, to upload its catalog or a part of its catalog to Open Library.

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I'm a publisher. I have a CSV file of all our publications. May I share that on Open Library?

We would love that. It's not possible yet, though. We're working on ways to make the addition of records to Open Library much, much easier. For us to be able to accept a CSV file from anywhere, we'll need to be sure that it contains the minimum fields we require to: a) check to make sure we wouldn't create a duplicate record; or b) create a new record.

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I work on a book-related website and would like share information with Open Library. Who should I talk to?

Yay! Please email info@archive.org and tell us about your website or organization and what you'd like to do.

History Created November 16, 2010 · 8 revisions

October 10, 2013 Edited by Jessamyn West https update
March 7, 2013 Edited by Jessamyn West added link to API page
March 4, 2013 Edited by Jessamyn West removed verbiage about upcoming features, troubleshoot addition
April 13, 2011 Edited by George Updated some old answers.
November 16, 2010 Created by bookfinch Edited without comment.