APIs, short for application programming interface, are tools used to share content and data between software applications. APIs are used in many contexts, but some examples include embedding content from one website into another, dynamically pulling content from one application to display in another application, or extracting data from a database in a more programmatic way than a regular user interface might allow.
Many scholarly publishers, databases, and products offer APIs to allow users with programming skills to more powerfully extract data to serve a variety of research purposes. With an API, users might create programmatic searches of a citation database, extract statistical data, or dynamically query and post blog content.
To learn more about these APIs, the MIT Libraries offer a guide to APIs for scholarly resources. The guide lists commonly used scholarly resources at MIT that make their APIs available for use, including Nature, Web of Science, arXiv, PubMed, Scopus, and others. If you have programming skills and would like to use APIs in your research, use the guide to begin your exploration.
For more information, please contact Mark Clemente, Library Fellow for Scholarly Publishing and Licensing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.