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on March 18, 2009 at 5:15:05 pm



This is a wiki for sharing, discussing, arguing over and hopefully coming to some common agreements on APIs and data schemas for museum collections.


What you can do

  • Upload or copy and paste some examples from your collections data schemas - whether that's nicely marked up xml, a table structure from the databases that feed your website, even plain old HTML from an online page.
  • Link to your API
  • List the functionality of your API (through documentation, examples, whatever)
  • Talk about how you decided how to implement your API
  • Start a discusion with your questions, unresolved issues


Background, goals, etc

Some background: the Science Museum is looking at releasing an API soon - it'll be project-specific to start with, but we're creating it with the intention of using that as an iterative testing and learning process to design an API for wider use. We could re-invent the wheel, but we'd rather make it easy for people to use what they've learnt using other APIs and other museum collections - the easiest way to do that is to work with other museums.  And hey, it means we'll end up with a better product.


Our initial project is a 'mashup competition' based on object metadata from our 'cosmos and culture' gallery.  So related to that, I've posted to the MCG (museums computer group) email list and our nascent 'museumdev' blog (Competitions using APIs - any resources) asking for comments on competition models, licensing, preservation, timelines, platforms, other public domain data sources, visualisation tools, etc.  The project team is cool with me being really transparent and experimental during this planning and design phase so I'm open to any suggestions or ideas.


Please feel free to edit pages or add any stuff that you think might be of use.


The original wiki

This wiki was originally started by Mike Ellis, and used for discussion around how best to communicate the benefits of the "machine connected" approach to (non-technical) cultural stakeholders - you'll see traces of it around, and it's still useful work so please contribute where you can.  Specifically -



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