Using the Serials Solutions APIs for the MyReading project

I had planned to go along to SummonCamp at ALA Midwinter on Sunday and talk about using the Summon API but, perhaps all too predictably, I ended up staying up waaaaay too late on Saturday night sampling some yummy US beers, forgot to set my alarm and overslept 🙁
Anyway, here’s what I would have talked about if I hadn’t been asleep at the time…
MyReading Project
For the last 12 months, I’ve been working on developing reading list software for the University of Huddersfield (home page and blog). By making use of both the Summon and 360 Link APIs, I’ve been able to cut down development time and also improve the functionality of the software for both staff and students.
360 Link API
E-journals and e-journal articles make up about 15% of all the reading list references in the software. One of the primary issues was how to provide accurate links to that material and how to ensure those links are updated whenever we change e-journal subscriptions or database platforms. On top of that, we also needed to ensure that authentication was as seamless as possible. Seeing as our link resolver (360 Link) already does all of the above, it made sense to use that.
So, for journal and article references, we’re storing the OpenURL so that we can query the 360 Link API on-the-fly to fetch back current access links. As 360 Link also handles the creation of EZProxy URLs for authentication, the API will return EZProxy prepended URLs when relevant.
If we take this reference to Iodine status of UK schoolgirls: a cross-sectional survey from The Lancet, we’ve stored the OpenURL as part of the reference:

By calling the 360 Link API with the above OpenURL, we can get back a page of XML.
At the time of writing, the ssopenurl:linkGroups element contains a couple of ssopenurl:linkGroup elements of type holding which, in turn, contain the current article access links for SwetsWise Online Content and ScienceDirect Journals.
So, as long as we’ve got an accurate OpenURL for a reference, we should be able to automatically insert the correct access links into the reading list. But, how do you get the OpenURL in the first place…?
Summon API
Once staff are logged into the reading list software, they’ll find an option to import any result from Summon as a reference into one of their reading lists…

Although Summon doesn’t officially support modifications like this, unofficially it’s possible to execute jQuery by hacking in a link to suitable JavaScript via the “Custom Link” option within the Summon Administration Console…

As doing this isn’t officially supported by Serials Solutions, it’s possible that it could stop working at any time. But, until that day comes, it’s a useful way of making minor tweaks to the Summon interface 😉
I’m only a beginner with jQuery, so the following might not be the most efficient and/or elegant way of adding the custom links, but it does the job…

$(document).ready(function(){ doMyReading( ); });
function doMyReading( )
  $( '.metadata' ).each(function(intIndex)
    var myReadingDocID = $( this ).parent().parent().parent().parent().parent().parent().parent().attr("id");
    if( myReadingDocID )
      $( this ).append( '<div style="margin-top:3px;background:#004088;color:#ccf;padding:3px 8px;font-size:98%; white-space:nowrap;">item options: <a title="add this item to MyReading" style="color:#fff;" href="'+myReadingDocID+'">add to MyReading</a></div>' );

…the important bit is that we grab the document ID value for the result (myReadingDocID in the above), which we can then use to retrieve the exact same result via the Summon API.
When the staff user clicks on the “add to MyReading” link, the reading list software uses the document ID to pull in the reference’s details from the Summon API and automatically populates the reference form…

…which includes the OpenURL and DOI, both of which can subsequently be used to query the 360 API to fetch access links 🙂
We can also use the document ID to retrieve the article’s subject terms and abstract from Summon…

So, in summary, we’ve used the APIs to:

  1. avoid having to manually maintain links to e-journal content
  2. make it both quicker and easier for staff to add items from Summon (which currently encompasses over 600,000,000 items!) to reading lists
  3. enhance records by bringing in abstracts and subject terms from Summon