Citavi and APIs

I’m at the OCLC EMEARC meeting today, talking and hearing about APIs. Having done my bit at the start, now trying to relax into the other presentations before questions and general discussion at the end.

Now Antonio Tejada and Hans-Siem Schweiger are talking about Citavi which combines Reference Management and Knowledge Organisation. Citavi designed to help with searching, retrieving results, acquiring materials – all of these require interaction with library sources. Citavis supports adding data manually, from file upload, browser extensions and via APIs.

Manual entry is error prone and time consuming

File upload – uses standard formats (RIS/BibTeX); supported by a wide range of catalogues and databases; but still time consuming

Browser Extension – e.g. looks for embedded metadata in the page (e.g. COinS) or find standard identifiers in the page (e.g. ISBN) and import data

APIs – eliminates the browser – you don’t need to go to lots of different sources on the web. Fastest mechanism. Direct. Integrates in the workflow much better. However cost of implementation can vary quite a bit – it all depends on the API – some very fast (e.g. z39.50 can do in minutes now, but custom APIs can be more difficult)

Citavi Features which use APIs:

  • Online search – integrated into the Citavi application
  • Retrieve by identifier (e.g. DOI, ISBN, PubMed ID)
  • Import formatted bibliography – can take a bibliography from a word file and Citavi will run a search for each item in the bibliography
  • Find Library Locations
  • Find Full Text
  • Check availability with OpenURL (seems like this actually just pushes user to their local resolver?)
Citavi supports a proxy service for some resources, when needed. E.g. for WorldCat API where an API key is required.

Universities can get site license for Citavi – allows library to create a special settings file with authentication details for databases (that are not IP authenticated)

Challenges for Citavis using APIs:

  • Administrative challenges
    • Some libraries don’t want to be accessible (at least via a desktop application)
    • Catalogues that charge by the record for metadata
    • Inconsistent communication – e.g. change of settings on library system, don’t inform Citavi
  • Technical challenges
    • Custom catalog software – missing or inconsistent standards support and inconsistent field mapping
    • Legacy data – not as well-structured; inconsistent data entry

Going forward:

  • Geographic search (WorldCat Search API)
  • Enhanced availability search (WorldCat Registry and OpenURL Gateway)
  • Acquisitions management (WMS Acquisitions) – Citavi didn’t anticipate this, but some libraries using Citavi to manage acquisitions processes
  • Metadata – looking at authority control (WorldCat Identities); Alternate editions (xISBN); ISSN lookup (xISSN)

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