What is the Open API Project?Posted: April 5, 2017
Archives across Australia hold data and metadata that is useful to other archival institutions. When archives identify related data, documents and records in an external repository, they typically collaborate with the other archive to further enhance their own collection.
So how do archival institutions share their information? Well, up until now they did it via email, FTP, web-based file sharing services, and in some instances, posting external hard drives. Researchers engage with archives in a similar manner. Most of the interaction is manual and quite often requires a researcher to physically visit the archive.
While these file sharing solutions have achieved the desired outcome between the parties, they can be inefficient, cumbersome and don’t promote broader sharing of data and information. That’s why Information Services is working on a project to share records across multiple institutional repositories.
Alongside stakeholders, such as National Library of Australia (NLA), National Australian Archives (NAA), Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office (TAHO) and Queensland State Archives (QSA), Information Services is working on the Open API Project through a program of work managed by eResearch South Australia (eRSA).
The pilot project aims to operationalise a national, sustainable and scalable API standard that will allow data (and metadata) sharing and transfer between the Prosecution Project and the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO).
TAHO is a part of LINC Tasmania. They collect, manage and preserve Tasmania’s cultural and documentary heritage, including State Government records.
Based at Griffith University, the Prosecution Project is investigating the history of the criminal trial in Australia. Directed by Laureate Fellow and Professor of History, Mark Finnane, the project has developed an online repository of Australian criminal trial records from 1850-1960. The collection includes data drawn from original court registers, court calendars, trial briefs and police gazettes.
Basically, the goal of the Open API Project is to make data from the Prosecution Project available in TAHO, and vice versa. The API will facilitate the transfer of data through two Metadata Endpoints.
Information Services, Business Analyst, Michael McGuinness visited TAHO earlier this year to understand how they produced their digital content.
In February 2017, the Open API Project team (from Griffith and eRSA) planned, conducted and led a solution design workshop with representatives from the research community, QSA, TAHO, NAA and NLA to determine the standards that could be used for the project.
The draft design of an Open API Standard will be released in May 2017.