Menu Expand

Technical specification

Jump to:

OpenURL and DOIs

We support OpenURL. We supply institutional clients with metadata in a variety of formats suitable for assembly of OpenURLs at the institution’s link resolver. These formats include KBART, MARC, OAI-PMH, ONIX and also CSV files on demand. We do not provide a link resolver service but we support our clients' local link resolvers with respect to access to resources supplied by 123library.


We do not provide DOIs for objects held at 123Library. DOIs provide a link to the original item at the publisher, rather than a link to a copy of that item at an aggregator like 123Library.

Searching 123Library

Basic search is a "Google-style" single input field (supporting any/all matching) which can intelligently recognise ISBNs as distinct from other values, which are matched against a range of index fields in our database by fragment or complete word / phrase.

Advanced search allows users to restrict search to books, by publisher / imprint, publication date, keywords matching any, all or phrase, or a specific author or ISBN (or ISBN fragment). Any of these can be used in combination or alone.

Both forms of search can be limited to records a user has access to, or to all of 123Library's ebooks, and searches can be saved for future reference.

Basic search is available as a toolbar on every page on the website, and advanced search is available on the homepage. Comprehensive assistance is provided via our "Support" page.


We supply metadata in the following formats, containing data on a library's current subscription set or alternatively (on request) 123Library's entire catalogue.

  • MARC21 (label and data files)
  • ONIX
  • Dublin Core / DCMI
  • Customised comma or tab delimited files

Most of the data files can be regenerated instantly and dynamically from your password-protected library admin area.

Data harvesting via OAI-PMH is available on request.

All fields supported by the ONIX specification are available in metadata, subject to the data supplied to us by publishers, which is validated and supplemented by our own systems based on ebook content.

Usage Data

We provide COUNTER like statistics for all books users are subscribed to, downloadable by account administrators in a password-protected area.

COUNTER data is provided in both the spreadsheet form specified by Project COUNTER and also in the SUSHI-XML format.

In addition, we gather a large amount of extra analytics which are not specified by COUNTER, for our internal use and for clients' use where requested.

Access Management Systems

We support access to 123Library via the following access management systems:

  • IP range
  • HTTP Referrer
  • 123Library-issued username and password.


Libraries can customise 123Library for their users by supplying/ uploading a logo from the administrator area or a limited amount of institution-specific content to be displayed on login or in the "My Library" section of the site.

Individual users (except those accessing via IP range or HTTP Referrer) can personalise the site by saving searches and "favourites".

Browser Compatibility

Our eBooks are delivered through the user's browser via a rich interactive eReader application.

The following hardware is supported by our eReader:

  • Desktop computers (PC, Mac, Linux)
  • Tablets (e.g. iPad, Samsung Galaxy)
  • Smartphones (e.g., iPhone and most models of Android phones with browser software and a multi-touch screen)

On desktop computers, we support the following major web browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Apple Safari
  • Dolphin (on Android)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer

Many other browsers, especially those based on Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla, are probably compatible. Users with older browsers are likely to experience some difficulty with our eReader.

Javascript and Cookies: 123Library's website makes extensive use of Javascript, and therefore users with browsers that have Javascript and/or cookies disabled may experience difficulties.

Microsoft Internet Explorer: We support Internet Explorer version 6 and 7, with a slightly reduced interface. The fully interactive version of our eReader is available to users of Internet Explorer version 8 and above.

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Unlike other eBook delivery systems, our eBooks are delivered through our own eReader software which does not require the user to install any special applications (e.g. Adobe Digital Editions) and does not cause many of the problems associated with DRM. Access to the eBooks is controlled securely through our access management systems, which control the number of users which may concurrently access eBooks through any specific account.

Copy-and-paste of small amounts of text (up to one page) is permitted.

Printing is permitted on an account-by-account basis and must be agreed with us in advance. The print quality is similar to printing out any normal web page. High resolution printing is not supported.

eReader Features

The 123Library eReader is a very advanced online ereader. The following features are provided:

  • Fast browsing of content in publisher's original printed layout
  • Zoom
  • Copy and paste
  • Printing (where permitted)
  • Mobile version
  • Interactive table of contents


123Library is compliant to level 2 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WAI), and certain elements of level 3 are also supported where relevant.

In addition to the WAI guidelines, 123Library supports mobile and tablet platforms, and the content adjusts itself automatically to the user's hardware and browser software, to take advantage of richer features where available, but without "punishing" users of inferior or out-dated hardware and software.

Document Archive

123Library is currently developing an interface with LOCKSS, a system which keeps archived versions of purchased eBooks available even if 123Library is not available.