First, this might be off-topic, sorry. I'm not sure whether I'm looking for a piece of software or just a data source. What I'm trying to do is to develop an app for personal use (in python on a mac if that's relevant) which would help me collect the works of a particular author. What I need is to be able to get a list of a particular author's published works if I input the author. I've tried the obvious online sources (Amazon, Google Scholar, librarything.com, Wikipedia etc) and they are all incomplete or incoherent e.g. multiple editions of the same book, no author name disambiguation, inconsistent formatting. I'm wondering if there's some (librarian?) software providing this, to which I can connect via API?

  • Welcome to Software Recommendations! Asking for a Python API of course is on-topic here. But if you're looking for data, our sister-site Open Data might be worth checking with.
    – Izzy
    Apr 18, 2018 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


I've worked with book metadata enough (while developing Citematic) to be confident that there are no really good sources. The problem is likely that the biggest sources were created by merging the catalogs of lots of different libraries, each of which used its own system. I regard the Library of Congress's online catalog as the best, for having the widest coverage and usually the deepest data on each book, but there are lots of duplicates and near-duplicates and the fields are formatted inconsistently. I use libwww-perl and XML::Simple to retrieve records from the API at http://lx2.loc.gov:210/lcdb.

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