How do I use Library APIs (like LibraryCloud)?

Library APIs (application programming interfaces) let you access structured information about library collections. To use an API, you construct a URL that sends a request. You can use your browser, a special app, or a programming language to send requests. 


LibraryCloud is the best API to start with, because it’s a centralized store of metadata from across Harvard’s various cataloging systems. To get started with LibraryCloud, open up a new browser tab and build the URL.


  1. Start with the base: https://api.lib.harvard.edu/v2/items
  2. Add a question mark to start the query section: ?
  3. Add the desired parameters. Use an equals sign to pair the name of the field with the term. Separate parameters with an ampersand: q=charles river&originPlace=boston
  4. Paste the full URL you created in your browser and go: https://api.lib.harvard.edu/v2/items?q=charles river&originPlace=boston


Learn more about Harvard Library APIs, or look up LibraryCloud field names and other details.

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