Copy and Paste with unAPI


At the ETech conference today, Ray Ozzie gave a talk and demonstration of "Live Clipboard", a UI for copying and pasting between web and desktop applications. It uses microformat data in the page as the data source, copies this to the clipboard, then reinterprets it when pasted.

There's been quite a bit of discussion on the GCS-PCS mailing list and code4lib IRC channel lately around the design of a specification for Dan Chudnov's brainchild unAPI, which has the same aim as Live Clipboard, essentially: making it easy to copy and paste. The difference is that instead of carrying around chunks of formatted microcontent, unAPI is based around URIs. Hence, you can copy a URI from one page, paste it into another and the receiving page can use unAPI to fetch the data corresponding to that URI.

The best way to describe it is by example, especially as the specification is still being debated, so...

  1. Visit a HubMed page like this one, right click on the ✂ icon (that's Unicode scissors, I hope everyone has the fonts to see them) and choose 'Copy Link Location' or 'Copy Shortcut'.
  2. Come back here and paste the URI into this box:

Hopefully this page will recognise the URI, fetch a list of available formats from the local unAPI service, choose an appropriate format (HTML, in this case), fetch the object and paste it into the space above.

Update: I've taken the scissors off HubMed's pages now, so just paste info:pmid/16406060 into the box above instead.