A Python package for getting basic data from a TIND.io server
Topi ("TIND Object Python Interface") is a Python package for getting basic data from a TIND server.
Table of contents
- Known issues and limitations
- Getting help
TIND is an integrated library system. The Caltech Library uses a hosted solution by TIND for its library catalog. Recent versions of TIND provide a REST API for getting a subset of information using network calls. To make writing interfaces and automation scripts in Python easier, the Caltech Library Digital Library Development team developed Topi ("TIND Object Python Interface"), a Python package that provides an object-oriented interface to data in a TIND catalog.
Topi is not a complete API for interacting with TIND instances. At this time, it provides an interface for retrieving only two kinds of objects: bibliographic records, and items/holdings associated with those records.
A "topi" is also a species of antelope found in Africa. The topi is currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to threats that include human development, hunting and droughts.
The instructions below assume you have a Python interpreter installed on your computer; if that's not the case, please first install Python version 3 and familiarize yourself with running Python programs on your system.
python3 -m pip install topi
As an alternative to getting it from PyPI, you can use
pip to install
topi directly from GitHub, like this:
python3 -m pip install git+https://github.com/caltechlibrary/topi.git
Topi is a application programming interface (API) library; it does not offer a command-line interface. There are three main option classes in Topi:
TindItem. The rest of this section describes these classes and how to use them.
An object of the
Tind class serves as the main point of interaction with a TIND server. The constructor for
Tind takes only one argument: the base network URL for the server. Using it is very simple:
from topi import Tind tind = Tind('https://caltech.tind.io')
An instance of the
Tind class offers just two methods:
record, to create
TindRecord objects, and
item, to create
TindItem objects. These object classes are described below.
This object class represents a bibliographic record in a TIND database. The fields of the record are derived from the MARC representation of the bibliographic record in TIND. The following are the fields in a record object in Topi:
||string||The TIND record identifier|
||string||The URL to the online record page in TIND|
||string||The title (derived from MARC data field 245)|
||string||The subtitle (derived from MARC data field 245)|
||string||The author(s) (derived from MARC data field 245 or 100)|
||string||The edition (derived from MARC data field 250)|
||string||The publisher's name (extracted from MARC control field 260)|
||string||The year (extracted from MARC control field 008)|
||list||ISBN or ISSN numbers (from MARC data field 020)|
||string||A description, concatenated from MARC data field 300|
||string||The value of MARC data field 504, subfield "a"|
||string||The URL of the cover image in TIND (if any)|
||list||A list of
TindRecord object can be obtained using the factory method
record(...) on the
Tind interface object. This method takes one of two mutually-exclusive keyword arguments: either a TIND record identifier, or a MARC XML string obtained from a TIND server for a TIND bibliographic record. Here is an example:
from topi import Tind tind = Tind('https://caltech.tind.io') rec = tind.record(tind_id = 680311)
Note the use of the keyword argument. Below is an example of how to create a record from an existing MARC XML file obtained from a TIND server some other way – let's assume it is stored a file named
from topi import Tind with open('downloaded_marc.xml', 'r') as xf: xml_string = xf.read() tind = Tind('https://caltech.tind.io') rec = tind.record(marc_xml = xml_string)
thumbnail_url field is lazily evaluated: its value is only obtained from the TIND server the first time the field is accessed by a calling program. This is more efficient for situations where the thumbnail is never needed by an application, but it does mean that there is a delay the first time the field is accessed.
Conceptually, in TIND an "item" is a specific copy of a work; this copy has a barcode and other item-specific information such as a location. Each item is associated with a TIND record (represented by a
TindRecord in Topi, described above). The following are the fields in an item object in Topi:
||The parent record for this item|
||string||The item's barcode|
||string||The type of item this is (e.g., "book")|
||string||The call number|
||string||A description of the specific item (e.g., "copy 1")|
||string||The library where the item is located|
||string||The location of the item in the library|
||string||Status of the item listed in TIND|
With Topi, a
TindItem object can be obtained using the factory method
item(...) on the
Tind interface object. This method takes a single argument: a barcode. Here is an example:
from topi import Tind tind = Tind('https://caltech.tind.io') item = tind.item(35047018228114)
Item records have parent pointers to the corresponding bibliographic record, in the form of a
TindRecord. Thus, given an item object, it's possible to look up the rest of the bibliographic record simply by dereferencing the
from topi import Tind tind = Tind('https://caltech.tind.io') item = tind.item(35047018228114) print(item.parent.title)
item method on
Tind will return an empty
Topi fills out the
thumbnail_url field of a
TindRecord object by using TIND's API for the purpose. This only retrieves what a given TIND database contains for the cover image of a work. Other sources such as the Open Library Covers API may have cover images that a TIND database lacks, but it is outside the scope of Topi to provide an interface for looking outside the TIND database.
Known issues and limitations
Currently, the coverage of the fields in
TindRecord is limited. Not all fields of a MARC XML record are mapped to fields in
TindRecord at this time. (Code contributions are welcome!)
If you find an issue, please submit it in the GitHub issue tracker for this repository.
We would be happy to receive your help and participation with enhancing Topi! Please visit the guidelines for contributing for some tips on getting started.
Software produced by the Caltech Library is Copyright (C) 2021, Caltech. This software is freely distributed under a BSD/MIT type license. Please see the LICENSE file for more information.
This work was funded by the California Institute of Technology Library.
Topi makes use of numerous open-source packages, without which Topi could not have been developed. I want to acknowledge this debt. In alphabetical order, the packages are:
Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.