Less than two months ago, Merriam-Webster announced that some of its references would be available via an API. Now, competitor Cambridge University Press has followed suit with the Cambridge Dictionaries Online API. Currently, Cambridge offers five dictionaries through an API (i.e. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Cambridge Business English Dictionary, Cambridge Learner’s English-Turkish Dictionary, and Cambridge Leaner’s Dictionary). Cambridge Dictionaries’ reference systems manager, Dominic Glennon, commented: “The API makes our dictionary data easily available to any developer with a good idea and we can’t wait to see what they do with it.”
Developers can request an API key today; although, the developer portal has not officially launched. The current intent is to offer free access to the API to developers making less than 3,000 calls per month. The first tier pricing will apply to developers between 3,000 and 15,000 calls per month. Although not live, Cambridge University Press has garnered attention to the API at industry events.
The API uses a REST protocol with JSON and XML data formats. The API is language independent. Developers can test the API at the company’s demo page. Additionally, the development team has started a forum for registered users and will be tracking use cases on the Showcase page.
With more and more print resources moving to digital, and digital resources gaining functionality beyond simply reading the text, it makes sense for Cambridge University Press to join its peers in offering API access to its dictionaries. The five resources currently available are some of the most trusted resources of their kind. Hopefully, easy integration with the rich content will only strengthen the publisher’s reputation for excellence.