APEF releases first API and fosters 'open data'
We are proud to announce the availability of the first Archives Portal Europe API (Application Programming Interface).
This web service enables archival institutions to not only publish their content via the Archives Portal Europe, but to also publish it as 'open data' for anyone to re-use it.
Some time ago, the Archives Portal Europe team already published a search widget, which enabled anyone to present the portal's search functionality via any website, blog or other online tool. You can see this in action on the homepage of this website. However, using that search widget, the search results were always presented within the Archives Portal Europe’s interface and in addition the possibilities for fine-tuning the search widget were limited.
The Archives Portal Europe team has now created an API which enables web developers to create their own application on top of the Archives Portal Europe's search engine and to fully embed this in their own websites using their own 'look & feel'. The data provided via the Archives Portal Europe's API are available as 'open data' under CC0 license.
All data of the Archives Portal Europe can be made available via the API, but whether this will be done is up to the portal's content providers. According to the Archives Portal Europe's Content Provider Agreement, only a contributing institution itself can decide whether it allows its data to be forwarded for re-use by anyone via the Archives Portal Europe's framework. Therefore the Archives Portal Europe team has implemented a functionality in the Dashboard which enables each contributing institution to 'enable' the use of the API for its data-set. The default value for this Dashboard functionality is 'disabled', so contributing institutions can choose whether to publish their data-set as 'open data' via the Archives Portal Europe's API or not. At the moment the complete data-set of the Nationaal Archief (the National Archives of The Netherlands) is already available via the API (6767 finding aids, containing more than 3 million descriptive units), but it is expected that more institutions will follow soon.
Documentation on this new service can be found over here:
- the portal has a new main menu option "API" which informs anyone wishing to use the API on how to do that (f.i. to be able to use the API one has to request an API key via a registered user account, which will enable us to monitor the use of the API)
- the Archives Portal Europe wiki contains a more detailed instruction on how to register for a user account and how to request an API key using that account
- the wiki also contains an instruction for the new Dashboard functionality enabling/disabling the use of the API (mainly for Archives Portal Europe Institution Managers)
- the technical documentation on how the API works (mainly for web developers) can also be found on the Archives Portal Europe wiki.
Finally: on a simple HTML page using a bit of jQuery on this website you can already see an example of a basic implementation of the API in action.
We intend to further develop this new service during the coming months and while doing that we can take your feedback into consideration. Please forward it to us using the portal's contact form.