New ENA discovery API

New ENA discovery API

27 Apr 2017 - 10:09

ENA has launched a new API to support programmatic search across all data types:

Offered as a RESTful interface, the service allows comprehensive search against the entire ENA content and supports Logical (AND, OR, NOT) searches across fields from distinct data types. With JSON and tab-separated value (TSV) options, the output takes the form of a metadata report (including FTP/Aspera addresses for read and analysis data files).

It replicates, and adds significantly to, the functions provided in the existing Advanced Search interface and, ultimately, will serve as its replacement. New features include:

  • search for read and analysis data by sample fields
  • return of reports that combine read/analysis and sample fields
  • in-API documentation
  • more flexible output formats
  • simple pagination options

Performing searches with the new API requires user authentication. For access to public data only, please use an anonymous login. An easy way to do this is supply "anon" as both the user and password.

This new service introduces the idea of a data portal. This is the term we are using to refer to a specific set of data held at ENA. Currently there are two data portals available: ena and pathogen. The ena portal covers all public data available at ENA while the pathogen portal contains data for only the bacteria, virus and several eukaryotic parasite lineages. The pathogen portal also enables access to selected pre-publication data (by arrangement) when performing an authenticated search using either a Webin or data hub (DCC) account.

Documentation describing the full functionality of the API, with examples, is available in either PDF ( or EPUB ( formats. If you require any additional assistance with this new service, please contact

We will be building on this API throughout the year and will be making further announcements as we expand the functionality. Please sign up to our ena-announce mailing list if you would like to stay updated with any developments. If there is any existing functionality of the Advanced Search service that you would like to see added into the portal API with high priority, please contact

As this new service will eventually be replacing our existing Advanced Search service, we encourage users to change over to the new API as soon as it contains all the needed functionality.

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