November 8 NCBI Minute: New API keys for better E-utilities & EDirect access to NCBI data


On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, we will present a webinar on API keys for E-utilities. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to get and start using your API key with the E-utilities and the command line EDirect programs.

Date and time: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 12:00-12:30PM EST

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about attending the webinar. After the live presentation, the webinar will be uploaded to the NCBI YouTube channel. You can learn about future webinars on the Webinars and Courses page.

New API Keys for the E-utilities


If you regularly use the E-utilities API, we have important news for you: NCBI is now providing API keys for the E-utilities! After May 1, 2018, NCBI will limit your access to the E-utilities unless you have one of these keys. Obtaining an API key is quick, and simple, and will allow you to access NCBI data faster. If you don’t have an API key, E-utilities will still work, but you may be limited to fewer requests than allowed with an API key.

What is an API key?

An API key is a unique string that you include in your HTTP requests that identifies you to NCBI servers. Think of the API key as a ‘turbocharger’ that lets you get more data, faster, from NCBI.

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October 4th NCBI Minute: Create, link and share your bibliography (PubMed & ORCID)


On October 4, 2017, NCBI staff will present a webinar on author disambiguation and the advantages of using an ORCID ID.

Disambiguating common author names is tough in any field, but if your published research is cited in PubMed, we can help you find your citations, create a bibliography, and share your publication list with others.

In this webinar, we’ll also talk about the advantage of quickly registering for a free, unique identifier that will remain constant – even if your name changes.

Date & time: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about attending the webinar. After the live presentation, the webinar will be uploaded to the NCBI YouTube channel. You can learn about future webinars on the Webinars and Courses page.

Blastdbinfo: API access to a database of BLAST databases


NCBI offers extensive collections of sequences through its BLAST services (http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) for comparing and identifying DNA, RNA and protein sequences. NCBI now deposits descriptions of these sequence collections, known as BLAST databases, in a special database called blastdbinfo that you can access through the Entrez Programming Utilities (E-Utilities). Using blastdbinfo, you can enable a program to find an appropriate database and then send BLAST searches to that database using either the BLAST URL API or standalone BLAST (installed locally).

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How to Download Bacterial Genomes Using the Entrez API


Given the size of modern sequence databases, finding the complete genome sequence for a bacterium among the many other partial sequences can be a challenge. In addition, if you want to download sequences for many bacterial species, an automated solution might be preferable.

In this post we’ll discuss how to download bacterial genomes programmatically for a list of species using the E-utilities, the application programming interface (API) to NCBI’s Entrez system of databases.  We’ll also take advantage of NCBI’s redesigned Genome database, which links all genome sequences for a given species to one record, making it easy to obtain the desired sequences once you find the right Genome record. In principle you can apply the procedure below to other simple genomes that are represented by a single sequence. Future posts will address additional considerations that apply to complex, eukaryotic genomes.

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