The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore just announced the public release of an API (Application Programming Interface for you non-coders out there) that allows creatively-minded programmers and artists to access their collections via a wide range of parameters including items from the collection, their location in the Museum, specific exhibitions, geography or origin, and many other parameters (name, keyword, catalog ID, etc.).
“So what?” you might be asking. Fair question. Basically this new API allows people to build custom web-based apps (or, with a language like Processing, even stand-alone apps) that draw their content from the collection or allow users to make customized searches through the Walters’ huge collection of 10,000+ objects that literally spans thousands of years of human history. Rather than have to “scrape” content off of the Walters’ site and risk broken links and difficult-to-manage code, people who want to incorporate art from the collection can query the database directly. Better still, everything’s available under a public license that merely requires those who tap into the database to credit the Museum.
Should be pretty interesting to see what people come up with!by