NISO Training Program: Working With Scholarly RESTful APIs


To provide consistency of training and a baseline of knowledge across the information community for appropriate use of APIs using the HTTP REST paradigm for scholarly resources across multiple information services and systems.  

Who Can Benefit from This Online Training:

  • Early career content professionals working in editorial/production environments of small to mid-size scholarly societies or similar publishing entities.
  • Early or mid-career programmers and developers working in libraries and seeking to make use of APIs provided by organizations in the scholarly communications ecosystem
  • Mid-career managers or supervisors whose roles require them to be familiar with multiple information systems and platforms and the relevant APIs that support transfer of information between those systems.

Course Dates: Fridays from September 15 – November 3.

Note: Each consecutive Friday session will last for at least ninety minutes and some may last two full hours. It will not be possible to register for individual program segments or lectures.

Basic Student Requisites: 

Those who plan to register for this training should be able to understand and execute the following:

  • Familiarity with HTTP headers and status codes (404, etc.).
  • Familiarity with JSON and XML data structures, and an understanding of the similarities between the two
  • Familiarity with the command line “cURL” command is desirable, but not required.

The course will make use of the “Postman” ( application/plugin to explore HTTP requests and responses. Finished exercises to be submitted to GitHub for purposes of evaluation by instructor.

Note: The registration fee for this event allows a group to listen into each lecture. However, only two exercises by individuals within that organizational group may be submitted for review by the instructor.

Event Sessions

Friday, September 15, 2017: Introductory Session


This introduction to the training series will:

  • Establish baseline, common vocabulary for the discussion and use of APIs in the REST paradigm.
  • Install and configure the Postman REST client to be used in subsequent sessions.
  • Provide appropriate context of API use from perspective/needs of publishing organizations and from perspective/needs of library organizations; 
  • Choosing the API best suited to particular type of content (format, discipline); 
  • Best practices for integrating API into organizational workflow

For each guest lecture given over to discussing a specific provider’s APIs, the lecturer will address the following aspects of available APIs:

  • Available API and the metadata/content associated with it
  • Tagging Syntax for purposes of preparing content for use in context of API (server side)
  • Search Syntax for purposes of retrieving data from specific API (client side)
  • Nuances and/or quirks that may be encountered in use; challenges, known issues
  • Parsing API documentation; frequency of and alerts to updates/versions of the API
  • Means for verification; Each segment will include practical exercise for handling tasks encountered when working with a layered API.

Each segment will include practical exercise for handling tasks encountered when working with a layered API.

Friday, September 22, 2017


Friday, September 29, 2017


ORCID provides an identifier for researchers as well as APIs that enable transparent and trustworthy connections between those researchers, their contributions, and their affiliations. ORCID APIs can be integrated into applications in order to help users find information and to help simplify reporting and analysis (among other use cases). This workshop session provides an introduction to ORCID's APIs, including:

  • ORCID API types and features
  • Getting access to ORCID APIs 
  • Data structure
  • Searching/retrieving public data
  • Getting user permission (via OAuth2) to retrieve an authenticated ORCID iD, add/update data and read non-public data
  • Adding/updating data
  • Support resources 

Friday, October 6, 2017


Friday, October 13, 2017


This segment will focus on the WorldCat Metadata API, which provides qualified institutions with tools for contributing and updating metadata records in WorldCat through a machine interface. 
The workshop will cover how the WorldCat Metadata API works and offer examples of how libraries use the API and overviews of the code libraries backing the service and of developer tools available for testing code.

Friday, October 20, 2017


APIs for Elsevier's Scopus

Friday, October 27, 2017


Glen Robson

IIIF Technical Coordinator
International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF)

This segment will address APIs associated with the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF)  

Friday, November 3, 2017


Wrap-Up and Final Exercises