Using the FT Education API

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It is always helpful for business studies students to read recent articles from the business press. However, few students have the  time to rummage through the online editions of newspapers searching for relevant articles, while professors are often too lazy to keep pages of relevant links up-to-date. As a possible solution to this problem, last month Pearson launched an interface allowing academics to post queries to an index of Financial Times articles and download the text of relevant articles. I have recently used the interface to generate lists of articles on major topics covered in each session of the first year Business Studies course’s block of Operations Management lectures and allow access to each article’s text. For example, in the website page for the final session on Operations Strategy a list of links to articles including the term “Operations Strategy” is dynamically generated using  javascript to post a query string and then parse the returned JSON text to create dynamically a reference list. The links point to a page that queries the API to get a JSON file of an article’s text, which a javascript routine then formats into the page. The value of this approach is that the list of links automatically updates to include links to recent articles and it does not require a subscription to the FT.com website to allow access to the articles;  the main drawbacks are that the archive does not include articles less than 30 days old, so the API is not creating a list including topical articles, and the interface returns the text but not any images or diagrams. In developing this interface I came across references to a full API for the Financial Times which should allow organisations with subscriptions to search for current articles. As subscribers to FT.com, it should therefore be possible for the University of Edinburgh Business School to use this FT interface to generate a similar list of relevant articles to that created using the Pearson Education API, but that is also right up-to-date. As current articles are only available to subscribers, this would then require the student to be accessing from a location with a n FT online subscription to actually access the articles.

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