OpenAthens customers can use our REST API to interact with the system programmatically. REST in this case is an acronym for REpresentational State Transfer. API stands for Application Programming Interface.
Rather than embedding a username and password in your application you generate an API Key that can be used instead. This means that you can change your administrator password without worrying about breaking your application. You can generate as many keys as you need - each application should use a different one so that they can be identified in activity streams, and you can restrict permissions on the keys - e.g. prevent the key used to access reports from being able to manage accounts.
There are three areas of API operation in OpenAthens
1. Account management API
This API allows you to programmatically create, manage and delete accounts. This means you can do things such as:
- Build a self service portal for your users to create and maintain their own accounts
- Run your own bespoke self registration pages
- Start a session for an OpenAthens account that already exists on the system (ideal if you want to put a login box on your own site)
For details see OpenAthens REST API documentation
2. API local connector
You can use an API connector with an existing application that holds user credentials to log a user in using those instead of OpenAthens accounts. See - API connector
3. Reports API
You can automate the retrieval of resource access reports - very useful if you are importing that data into other tools such as Tableau or PowerBI. This one is an optional extra on your subscription. See Fetching statistics reports via the API