In Operation Direct Europeana experiments with new technologies for aggregating content.
In 2016 as part of the projects DSI and DSI-2 Europeana and its partners are experimenting with new ways to publish cultural collections on the Europeana platform. This innovative work is a part of our broader effort to innovate the aggregation approach and infrastructure. The codename Operation Direct conveys one of the main themes of this innovation effort: explore the potential of direct relationships between Europeana and its content partners, in addition to relationships mediated by aggregators. This effort is carried out together with Semantika, our partner from Slovenia.
Inspired by the idea of lean development, we organise the work as a series of quick iterations, whose goal is to establish the technological feasibility of a concept and get an early feedback from the user. The results of the work will be presented at Europeana AGM 2016.
The project started with a series of in-depth interviews with representatives of content partners and aggregators. The goal was to find out the most convenient and natural ways to publish cultural collections on the Europeana platform, from the point of view of technology, data and user flow, and metadata standards. The interviews were very instructive and further informed the development work described below. They are still going on and we would be glad to hear from people who wants to help us improving the aggregation system. Do you work for a content-owning institution and have an interesting idea to share? Please drop us a line!
Europeana Network is a heterogeneous group of institutions, with varying agendas and abilities. Therefore, an aggregation technology of one size will not fill all of them. Based on the results of the interviews, we developed three different - but complementary - technologies to publish content on Europeana: REST API, CMS Integration, and Harvesting.
Standard REST APIs are the main communication means, used by today's platforms. Envisioning Europeana as an open platform for cultural heritage data, we designed a new REST API for anyone to publish and access data on Europeana. The API was designed to be easy in use: structured around core Europeana's data entities and speaking a simple language, clear to developers. The documentation of the API is available here.
Developers are welcome to experiment with the API and preview the uploaded records on the preview portal of Operation Direct. Brief instructions for testing the API:
- Construct a JSON file according to the API specification. You can use the following examples for inspiration:
- Object by itself
- Object with a WebLink
- Object with an Agent contextual entity
- Object with a Location contextual entity
*Since we have not implemented the authentication layer it, please fill in a distinctive value (e.g. the name of your institution) in the "dataOwner" field of the Object, to access your own records later on.
- Post the JSON to https://europeana-direct.semantika.eu/EuropeanaDirect/api/object. The result will contain the ID value that you can use later to update it.
- To browse all the objects published by you, go to http://operation-direct.europeana.eu/portal/en/search?q=dataOwner:XXX after you substitute XXX with the distinctive value you set before. Alternatively, you can view the object itself on http://operation-direct.europeana.eu/portal/en/record/direct/ID.html where ID is the value you got in response after posting it.
- To update the object, use the same JSON file as before after you set the ID field to the actual value you got in response.
- Repeat until satisfied with the result.
- Send us your comments.
The work of Operation Direct continues and we would like to hear from you, whether you would like to experiment with the results of our work, or have a useful feedback or an interesting idea for us. Get in touch!