Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

How to integrate with LibraryThing

The other half of the mashup!

As detailed on the main blog, LibraryThing is now integrating with swap sites.

Any swap site can do it, if they follow these simple steps. These are ideals, and negotiable. Just drop Tim a line and let’s talk.

  1. Provide feeds for books available and books wanted. For format see http://www.bookmooch.com/api/ under all_inventory.txt and all_wishlist.txt. Provide ISBNs where you can, ASINs where necessary. Provide only one entry per ISBN, taking care not to have both upper and lower-case versions. The sort order is not important.
  2. Provide model URLs for the detail page of a book, getting a book and giving a book. (See note on “works” below.) Getting and giving should route a NEW user through sign-up before returning them to their chosen page.
  3. Provide a logo no larger than 250×50.
  4. Allow users to add received books to LibraryThing, using http://www.librarything.com/blog/2006/08/add-to-librarything-from-anywhere.php.
  5. Provide a link to LibraryThing on your book detail page. Use http://www.librarything.com/blog/2006/07/new-ways-to-link-to-book.php.

On works: LibraryThing doesn’t actually go by ISBN. It goes by “works.” Works are collections of ISBNs, mostly combined by users. So, Harry Potter in the UK paperback is the same “work” as Harry Potter in the US hardcover and even a Finnish translation of Harry Potter. So, when LibraryThing reads your feed it will interpret it that way. This means that, ideally, when making URLs on your site—LibraryThing’s book detail link, and certainly its give and get book links—you should be able to accept a NUMBER of ISBNs corresponding to all the ISBNs in a LibraryThing “work.” Ideally, these should be separated by commas.
If you want to use LibraryThing’s concept of work—an extremely powerful thing–you can use LibraryThing’s thingISBN service. Unfortunately, this is non-commercial use only, so you need to talk to Tim about it.

That’s it!

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