USA Today is the latest media company to open up its data via an API, the software interface that makes it easy for outside developers to use another company’s data in their applications. The newspaper — which said that it will launch its open API project later this month — joins a small but growing group that includes The Guardian, the New York Times and National Public Radio. The newspaper says it plans to start releasing APIs for specific sections first, including a sports API that provides access to the paper’s database of salaries for players in Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL and other sports franchises. It will also be releasing data about best-selling books through its books API, and says it will be opening up other parts of its news operation through similar offerings later in the year.
It remains to be seen how much content USA Today provides through its interface, and on what terms. The New York Times only provides an excerpt of its content through its API, and doesn’t allow that content to be used in any venture designed for profit. National Public Radio, meanwhile, has provided full access to all of its content since 2008, and the organization is also working on a project with other publicly-funded entities to come up with a single system that provides access to all their data in one place. There is a tangible upside to an open API as well: NPR says its pageviews have climbed by 80 percent since it released its interface, as users click through from apps that use the service’s content.