Cultural Heritage #APIs: What are they, why we need them
Currently, it is of very great significance for the cultural heritage scholars to highly focus on the area of application programming interface (APIs). Generally, APIs are considered to be in very simple terms, code libraries that are assembled by various companies offering web service with a major objective of enabling third-party applications to be able to link up and make communications with web service platforms. To define cultural heritage APIs, it refers to an expression of different ways of living that are normally developed by a community, and then passed from one generation to the other comprising of practices, customs, values places, and artistic expression achieved through the help of technology.
Usually, API is invisible to the human eyes regardless of the fact that APIs are interfaces that are linked to facilitate computer-to-computer communication. Inside the domain of cultural heritage, there is a very implausible potential create tools that can help in revolutionizing both the presentations of different collections and the way in which people happen to experience and interact with cultural heritage. Cultural heritage APIs are of very great significance giving the reason as to why we need them. Taking, for example, it is through cultural heritage APIs that we are able to discover the Europe’s rich cultural heritage that can be found in the museums, libraries, galleries, cultural oriented institutions, and different archives in the whole content of Europe. In addition, it is through the digitization efforts that enables people from different parts of the world to get to know about this heritage through different online platforms. This simply means that cultural heritage APIs helps in the preservation of the important cultural materials.
Museum REST APIs
In application program interfaces, REST is used as the type of architecture style that is meant for the design of networked application whereby there is a use of simple HTTP in the making of calls between machines. There are different categories of museums APIs whereby they are all designed by implementing REST so that they can provide the expected purpose when it comes to the cultural heritage. These categories comprise of arts, education, and location. In the category of arts, museums APIs aim at integrating the entire museum’s collection into an application hence allowing different users to have access to data concerning objects, people, exhibitions, galleries, and publications. Under the education category, museums APIs are designed as a REST-ful interface depending to a particular museum’s collections so that all the items searched can be returned in the database while they are already paginated in either JSON or SML format.
Availability of Museums REST APIs
Looking at the availability of museums REST APIs, in most cases, it involves the use of Gerrit code review which normally comes with a REST-like API that is always available over the HTTP. In this case, the API happens to be very suitable when it comes to the automated tools to build upon and also supporting a number of ad-hoc scripting uses cases. It is through the construction of the API protocols as well as the documentation that different web service provider companies enable people to have access to the data in regard to cultural heritage they may want to access.
The Necessity of Museum APIs
There are a number of significances linked to the museum APIs in regard to the cultural heritage. To start with, use of Artsy API, it helps in providing access to images of a particular historic artwork as well as related information when it comes to artsy being one of the category of museum APIs meant for educational and some other non-commercial purposes. The other significance is that it helps in providing access to positions, luminosity, color, and some other data to people in different locations of the world when it comes to the exoplanets and constellations. Allowing an individual to search a diverse body of online primary resources that relates to written and early printed culture in a particular state, taking for example of the Britain culture at the period of 1000-1500, is the other necessity of museum APIs lying under manuscripts online API. The other significance is on the connected histories API whereby it brings together a range of digital resources when it comes to the early modern as well as the 19th century Britain with a single federal search that normally enables a highly modernized searching of names, places, and dates, connect, and shares resources with a private workspace. Usually, the connected histories APIs allow different users to connect programmatically when it comes to the search engine through the use of GET parameters whereby results can be retrieved in an XML format.
Future Thoughts of Museum REST APIs
The future thoughts of the museum APIs involves determining where next to open cultural data in museums. It is evident that recently, museums have increasingly been integrating the global movement when it comes to the open data through initiating of their databases, images sharing as well as releasing of their knowledge. The other future thoughts involve determining on how to come up with a way that can be used to in open data so that there can be engaging of more people and more diverse individuals taking, for example, of the United Kingdom heritage and culture.
Cloud Technologies Used by Museums
Cloud technology or computing can be defined as a natural progression when it comes to the utility of computing. Normally, early computers would require a number of users to share a single console which has currently come to an end as the advent of personal computing brought about the convenience into our homes. The Internet has completely changed the way in which people link up to information and each other. Museums are known to provide access to their different collections and programs through the hosting of websites as well as the applications for the public use.
Museums make use of software as a service (SaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS) as its main types of cloud computing. For the PaaS system, they normally enable access when it comes to the virtual hardware devices that always allow the software toolsets that can be most appropriately used. SaaS systems normally require users to deploy software as per a particular interface with a major objective of hosting applications.
Through providing of API only access, the implementation of SaaS can have the capability of providing features that can help developers to build upon considering the aspect of scalability as the most significant one. Consenting the cloud to take control of where the data gets to be stored and where the applications happen to be stored through a SaaS system helps in removing a significant amount of workload as well as the complexity of the developer. For the PaaS, museums consider using it due to its benefit of ease in moving applications from one servicer provider to the other. Museums considered there switching to the cloud computing technology due to these operational advantages linked to the cloud computing technology and environmental effects through the use of services in the cloud.
When it comes to the data exposed by the cloud technologies used by the museum’s work, they normally get to be used by some other museums in the worldwide basis so that they can be able to advance their museums work with a major objective of preserving the cultural heritage in different parts of the world.
REST APIs are considered to be very significant and useful due to the fact that they do allow different users to have access to data portals when it comes to different museums natural history with an objective of retrieving the collection and research datasets for different uses in software or applications. Talking, for instance, of the London natural history museums, the datasets get returned in JSON whereby it holds over 2 million specimen records that are from the museum’s zoology, botany, and entomology collections.
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Isaksen, Leif. Pandora’s Box: the Future of Cultural Heritage on the World Wide Web. (2009): 110-130. Accessed September 6, 2016. https://leifuss.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/pandorasbox.pdf
Johnson, Larry, Samantha Adams Becker, Victoria Estrada, and Alex Freeman. The NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Museum Edition. Austin, TX: The New Media Consoritum, (2015):190-205.
Rosenthal, Sara, Alan Ritter, Preslav Nakov, and Veselin Stoyanov. “Semeval-2014 Task 9: Sentiment Analysis in Twitter.” In Proceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation, 73-80. Dublin, Ireland: SemEval, 2014.
Sucan, Ioan A., Mark Moll, and Lydia E. Kavraki. “The Open Motion Planning Library.” IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 19, no. 4 (2012): 72-82.
Michael Armbrust, Armando Fox, Rean Griffith, Anthony D. Joseph, Randy H. Katz, Andrew Konwinski, Gunho Lee, David A. Patterson, Ariel Rabkin, Ion Stoica, and Matei Zaharia. Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing. (Berkeley, CA: Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences University of California at Berkeley, 2009), 530.
 Leif Isaksen. Pandora’s Box: the Future of Cultural Heritage on the World Wide Web. (2009), 120.
 Sara Rosenthal, Alan Ritter, Preslav Nakov, and Veselin Stoyanov. “Semeval-2014 Task 9: Sentiment Analysis in Twitter.” In Proceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (Dublin, Ireland: SemEval, 2014), 73-80.
 Ioan A. Sucan, Mark Moll, and Lydia E. Kavraki. “The Open Motion Planning Library.” IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 19, no. 4 (2012): 72-82.
 Larry Johnson, Samantha Adams Becker, Victoria Estrada, and Alex Freeman. The NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Museum Edition. (Austin, TX: The New Media Consoritum, 2015),192.
 Ibid., 200.
 Niroshinie Fernando, Seng W. Loke, and Wenny Rahayu. “Mobile cloud computing: A survey.” Future Generation Computer Systems 29, no. 1 (2013), 90.
 Ibid., 100.
 Ibid., 102.