May 26, 2022

New From MIT/CSAIL: “Searching Websites the Way You Want”; Introducing scrAPIr


When you search sites like Amazon they present you results in the format that they want – sponsored results up top, and, as some sleuths have discovered, sometimes prioritizing their own products over others.

But what if you, the user, had more control over how you could look at information on sites like Amazon, eBay or Etsy?

CSAIL researchers have created a new tool to help make it easier to access web data from companies’ “application programming interfaces” (APIs). Dubbed ScrAPIr, the tool enables non-programmers to access, query, save and share web data APIs so that they can glean meaningful information from them and organize data the way they want.



To integrate a new API into ScrAPIr, all a non-programmer has to do is fill out a form telling ScrAPIr about certain aspects of the API.

Beyond its application for non-coders, the tool was also shown to allow programmers to perform important data-science tasks like wrapping and querying APIs nearly four times faster than if they wrote new code themselves.

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Direct to scrAPIr

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.