First build released

The first and highly tentative build is up and ready for you to poke at.

Our plan is to simultaneously and incrementally build out a reference API and a technical specification, letting them inform each other, while being guided by your participation, experience, and expertise.

First, about the tech spec, or more exactly, the  scope document: We’re working with Nick Caramello and Pod Consulting on building a useful set of docs that lay out a proposed path at multiple levels, from descriptions of the strategies for each area to detailed specs. As a start, a couple of weeks ago we posted a plain English overview on the wiki, which is both exceedingly general and hugely provisional. We will continue to iterate — with you, we very much hope — on far more detailed and technical documents over the next couple of months, primarily on the wiki. The scoping docs will raise issues we will need to address together, and will provide a way for us to make decisions about what functionality to support and what the (loosely-coupled) infrastructure should include. We need your help and participation, because the questions are huge, our team is tiny, and the deadline of April 2013 is just around the corner. Are we including the right services? Architecting it appropriately? In a scaleable yet do-able way? Are there open source projects we should be using? What else?

To get started with today’s build, here are the links you need:

API Base (returns JSON):

Sample query (returns JSON):

Query Builder (this is a really useful tool):

API Documentation:


Wiki page for this build, with details about what’s in it:

Note that much of the data in this release is dummy data, although we have included real data from the Biodiversity Heritage Library (thank you!) and from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley (thank you!). The wiki build page explains which data has been dummified, and contains the necessary disclaimers, including the important one that this metadata is provided purely for experimentation.

We are putting up a bug reporting mechanism via, going into a RedMine instance. The email should be working in the next day or two.

Remember that the main page of the wiki lists ways that you can communicate and participate. We urge you to do so. There is no possibility of our little group doing this right or at all on our own.