SmartAPI: Towards a more intelligent network of web APIs

Amrapali Zaveri, Shima Dastgheib, Chunlei Wu, Trish Whetzel, Ruben Verborgh, Paul Avillach, Gabor Korodi, Raymond Terryn, Kathleen Jagodnik, Pedro Assis, Michel Dumontier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Data science increasingly employs cloud-based Web application programming interfaces (APIs). However, automatically discovering and connecting suitable APIs for a given application is difficult due to the lack of explicit knowledge about the structure and datatypes of Web API inputs and outputs. To address this challenge, we conducted a survey to identify the metadata elements that are crucial to the description of Web APIs and subsequently developed the smartAPI metadata specification and associated tools to capture their domain-related and structural characteristics using the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles. This paper presents the results of the survey, provides an overview of the smartAPI specification and a reference implementation, and discusses use cases of smartAPI. We show that annotating APIs with smartAPI metadata is straightforward through an extension of the existing Swagger editor. By facilitating the creation of such metadata, we increase the automated interoperability of Web APIs. This work is done as part of the NIH Commons Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) API Interoperability Working Group.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Semantic Web - 14th International Conference, ESWC 2017, Proceedings
EditorsEva Blomqvist, Olaf Hartig, Rinke Hoekstra, Aldo Gangemi, Pascal Hitzler, Diana Maynard
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783319584508
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event14th Extended Semantic Web Conference, ESWC 2017 - Portoroz, Slovenia
Duration: 28 May 20171 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10250 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference14th Extended Semantic Web Conference, ESWC 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing AG 2017.


  • FAIR principles
  • Linked data
  • Web API
  • Web API description
  • Web services


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