LibraryThing Feeds: Description and Guide

Version 2.0. May 20, 2021

Introduction

LibraryThing offers a number of XML data feeds to select libraries and bookstores, as well as qualified academic researchers.

  • All data is provided in anonymized aggregates, except for reviews, which users may choose to exclude from distribution outside of LibraryThing.
  • Our data partner, Bowker/ProQuest, is responsbile for all data sales.
  • Data feeds are large, comprehensive files. They are distinct from the free APIs we provide to members and others.
  • All data is provided under strict terms and conditions. Unauthorized acquisition and use of LibraryThing data is a violation of law.
  • LibraryThing does not offer bibliographic data, such as titles, authors and publication dates. For high-quality bibliographic data, visit Bowker Book Data.
  • Academic researchers should contact tim@LibraryThing.com to discuss their interest in the feeds.

Sample Feeds

Works and Editions
All-important file for linking ISBNs to works
Documentation Sample Feed
Reviews
Member reviews of works, with ratings
Documentation Sample Feed
Ratings
Aggregate member ratings
Documentation Sample Feed
Full Recommendations
Detailed feed of work-to-work recommendations
Documentation Sample Feed
Series
Complete information on series and the works in them
Documentation Sample Feed
Work to Tags
Detailed feed of all the tags applied to works
Documentation Sample Feed
Tag Information
Detailed feed of tags and their attributes
Documentation Sample Feed
Simple Works to Tags
Simplified feed of approved, combined tags
Documentation Sample Feed
Tag Translations
Tags translated into many languages
Documentation Sample Feed
Main Authors
Main authors of works
Documentation Sample Feed
Secondary Authors
Other authors of works
Documentation Sample Feed
Author Images
Images for authors
Documentation Sample Feed
Awards
Awards for works
Documentation Sample Feed
Characters
Characters for works
Documentation Sample Feed
Places
Places for works
Documentation Sample Feed
Quotes
First, last and in-between words from works
Documentation Sample Feed

Deprecated

Simple Recommendations
Deprecated feed of works to recommended works
Documentation Sample Feed
Series Information
Deprecated feed of series for works
Documentation Sample Feed

Usage Notes

Availability

  • All files are XML, provided in GZIP format.
  • Files are available by https. The location of the feeds, and the password to access, are sent by email.
  • We aim to refresh the files every two weeks. The newest version is labeled "_current." Older versions are stored for some time.
  • All feeds are complete and distinct. No "deltas" are made.

The Work System

The world of books is complicated. Many books exist in multiple versions, described as "editions," "formats" or "translations." LibraryThing aggregates all the versions of a book together into a so-called "work."

Versions are assigned to works automatically in the first instance, but can be reassigned by LibraryThing members in a process known as "Work Combination" and "Work Separation."

By its nature the work system develops over time, so work numbers cannot be absolutely relied on to stay the same. The "Works and Editions" feed provides up-to-date correlations between ISBNs and works.

LibraryThing work ids are known as "Workcodes" on LibraryThing and in these feeds.

Language Abbreviations

Language abbreviations in the LibraryThing feeds are based on the MARC/ISO 639 standard (http://xml.coverpages.org/iso639marc.html), a three-letter system for identifying languages. We add a number to this code for two languages with significant, uncaptured variants:

  • por1 is Brazilian Portuguese
  • por2 is Portuguese Portuguese
  • chi1 is Chinese, traditional
  • chi2 is Chinese, simplified (e.g., PR China)

Don't be a stranger

Email tim@librarything.com with questions or suggestions.