The Europeana API Strategy


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A very brief presentation on the Europeana API Strategy presented at the Open Cultuur Data Masterclass April 23rd 2012. The presentation was not focused on technology but on what to consider when deciding to (or not) to develop an API and how to relate that to your existing strategy, plans and activities.

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  • The Europeana API Strategy and what you can learn (not to do?) from it I’m David Haskiya and I work as the Product Developer for Europeana. One of my roles is also being the product manager of the Europeana Search API and other data re-use services. This presentation is available under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license, I’ll upload it to SlideShare for your convenience Images licensed separately
  • As with social media strategies API strategies should be part of your generic strategy!!! Or if you do have a separate one make damn sure it’s aligned with your generic strategy So what we have is an API-plan built on the aspect of our strategy best accomplished via an API
  • The brief from the European Council of Ministers in 2008. The Digital Agenda for Europe, the PSI-directive and the Commite des Sages expert group have clearly pointed to the strategic value of Open Data and a preserved Public Domain.
  • Explore, discover, share, engage with cultural and scientific heritage Note that the Europeana PORTAL isn’t mentioned. As long as we and our partners are attributed and linked to the user interaction can take place on other sites than the Europeana portal.
  • This is always so difficult to explain!
  • Distribution is one of the 4 tracks of our strategy More tangentially the API also touches on the the other tracks: Aggregation, Facilitation and Engagement The API is but one among many tools in our toolbox It’s a B2D and B2B tool
  • Our first API plan It worked, but not in the we thought…
  • “ An API-plan never survives first contact with the European Commission” This was a very prudent plan as we weren’t sure we had the full support of our network
  • What the commission wanted We had initially planned to have only 1 hackathon in 2011
  • Take two in Q2 2012 – Q2 2013, we’re in the early stages of the plan
  • More ambitious than the first plan We’ve learned from our mistakes
  • Yes, we’re eating our own dog-food… This together lays the foundation for a business model where Europeana focuses on core businesses like quality metadata and an open API thus facilitating innovation and R&D outside of Europeana proper Launches in Q3
  • As part of this masterclass I’d be happy to give you feedbac and suggestions on your API-related work
  • A big question and the brief of answers And I know it depends is an annoying answer. But let’s be clear a collections API is NOT necessary for ALL GLAMs
  • When in doubt, return to the mission!
  • Any questions? Or if you want to use our API, Linked Open Data or widgets, just contact me or grab me during or after our seminar You can mail me at david.haskiya AT Or Tweet with me @david.haskiya This poster by an unknown artist is courtesy of the Municipal Library of Lyon, a Europeana network partner The work is in the public domain
  • The Europeana API Strategy

    1. 1. The Europeana API Strategy And what I think you can take away from it David Haskiya, Product Developer
    2. 2. API Strategy? We don’t haveone! Let me tell you why.
    3. 3. Mission and Strategy“Europeana enables people to explore the digitalresources of Europes museums, libraries, archives andaudio-visual collections. It promotes discovery in amultilingual space where users can engage, share inand be inspired by the rich diversity of Europes culturaland scientific heritage.”But how? We try to answer that in our strategy: A multi-channel approach combining end-user services,content re-use services and social media.
    4. 4. What is an API? Application Programming Interface • Well, that’s not very understandable…• OK, let’s try this: It’s what a developer queries, reads from and writes to when developing services• For example: An API is what allows other sites than Google Maps to have interactive (Google) maps on them
    5. 5. The API is one among many tools Europeana Distribution tools The portal Semantic mark-up Search Engine Optimization The API (and programming libraries, re-use widgets) Linked Open Data, dumps and SPARQL (pilot) Wikimedia Commons batch upload (planned development)
    6. 6. The Plan 1.0
    7. 7. The first plan in brief Develop a simple search API • 5 Beta developers from within the network Launch with a Hackathon Sales: Target our high-traffic partners for adoption • To maximize referral traffic • But this was ditched when the commission made a call KPI: 20 API-implementations by end of 2011 • We had 19 by the way • As a proportion of total traffic API-referral traffic is small (but it shows deep engagement)
    8. 8. Hack4Europe! 4 hackathons in 4 countries with a focus on non- GLAM developers Goal: To show the potential of Open Data in the European knowledge economy Results: • 70 prototypes • Increased acceptance within our network for Europeana as platform • Increased awareness of the necessity for Openness• Problem 1: Our (meta)data isn’t Open so prototypes remain prototypes• Problem 2: We lacked resources to do Hack4Europe AND target our major partners
    9. 9. The Plan 2.0
    10. 10. The second plan in brief Develop an improved API • Based on developer feedback • Automated API-management Launch when the Data Exchange Agreement takes effect • The DEA makes our metadata Open thus allowing for commercial use of our API • The Europeana Licensing Framework clarifies re-use of partner content Sales: Target our high-traffic partners for adoption and investigate PPPs with select commercial companies Create a Developer Outreach Programme • Of which Hack4Europe 2012 is a component
    11. 11. The Europeana API version 2.0 (Q3 2012) Is under development • Simpler for developers (REST,JSON) • More powerful (anything we can do, you can do) • More scalable (logging, throttling, direct sign-up) • Write functionality for user annotations (OAuth) • Better documented (interactive docs, API console) Direct sign-up for API-key Is paired with a Development Outreach Programme • Hack4Europe 2012 in May and June • Copenhaguen, Warzaw, Leuven and Berlin Will be an Open API Made possible by the new Data Exchange Agreement
    12. 12. What’s your strategy andplan?
    13. 13. Do we need to build an API? It depends… • On your mission and how to best accomplish it Does it have to be public? • No, you could start with an internal API, perhaps between you Collection Management System and Content Management System Does it have to be Open? No, but usually difficult to get a good Return on Investment if you not
    14. 14. Some API wisdom, Strategy and Planning Integrate your API in the overall long-term strategy • Realizing they’re one means among many, not the only means and not a goal unto itself Make the business case for the API customer • It’s not about you • Cases and testimonials over statements Plan your API-activities • Set goals, define metrics and measure them • Hint: For most GLAMs it won’t be quantity of web traffic Communicate your API • Build it and they will not come! • Sales and Developer outreach are 2 different things • Hackathons are probably your best tool to build awareness and generate buzz!
    15. 15. Some API wisdom, low threshold Clear Terms of Use • By whom and for what purpose • Demystify, undramatize! Clearly licensed content • Creative Commons Open Data makes for clarity Low threshold of adoption Low negotiation cost
    16. 16. Tech choices and guidelines Consider whether you need to build an API yourself • Your CMS may come with one out of the box • As a Europeana partner you already have one REST over SOAP JSON over XML Clear versioning Clear SLA Ensure you can log and follow up on your metrics Build you own services based on the API you offer others Interactive documentation over static documentation • Also libraries, code snippers, how-to’s, case studies• Improve iteratively based on developer feedback
    17. 17. That was it! Questions?Please contact me if you want to knowmore or use our API! Email: Twitter: @david.haskiya