Open Library

Nora, for complicated reasons, made a list of about 120 or so ISBN numbers of books we have here in the house. Having this list in an Exel Spreadsheet was burning a hole in my pocket so I starting writing up some code to try to do something with this.

I found a free book lookup API at Open Library and soon had a script that would collect the information about our book list from this site. Of the 120 ISBNs I got info for about 100 books. The info varied but included the title, author, publisher, and sometimes things like the number of pages or links to small, medium and large images of the book cover. This is off to a decent start.

Since the data comes back as JSON, I thought it would be easy and fun to store this in a mongo database. Also since I didn’t exactly know what I was going to do with it, and since each book seemed to have slightly different data available, using mongo allows me to avoid having to design a schema yet.

I wrote up some more ruby to run over the saved JSON files and insert each book into a mongo db. Next up, write up a quick Sinatra front end to allow me to browse and then perhaps add more data to each book.

Also interested in finding other data providers for ISBN lookups to fill in the gaps of Open Library.

Open Library API Documentation