Texas Digital Library Conference System, 2014 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries

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Hacking DPLA
Danielle Cunniff Plumer

Last modified: 2014-03-14


The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a platform that enables new and transformative uses of digitized cultural heritage materials, based on a metadata repository that provides read-only access to millions of records from across the United States via an open API. Texas content is currently provided by the Portal to Texas History at the University of North Texas, one of nine DPLA Service Hubs, and by content contributed by DPLA Content Hubs. In this workshop, participants will actively code against the DPLA API to build or enhance apps, visualization tools, plug-ins, and other interesting tools that make use of DPLA data.

The DPLA encourages the development of apps and tools by developers of all skill levels and backgrounds; there are no strict boundaries on the types of apps accepted, except that they be open source (the DPLA platform is released under a AGPLv3 license) and interoperable with the DPLA platform.  DPLA API queries are returned as JSON-LD, and the metadata is freely reusable under a CC0 public domain license. A front-end portal is currently available at http://dp.la; prospective workshop participants are encouraged to explore the portal to see what types of materials are available.

This workshop will provide some background on DPLA and the DPLA API, but it will not provide a structured introduction to programming. Active participation is highly desired, so workshop participants should have at least some prior experience of working with APIs or with interface development in PHP, Ruby, Python, or Java. Participants should provide their own laptop computers with appropriate development environments; power and wireless Internet access will be available courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin Libraries. A shared collaboration space will be available before and during the workshop to allow participants to pitch ideas, form teams, and share the finished apps at the conclusion of the workshop.

Technical Notes: The DPLA codex is available at http://dp.la/info/developers/codex/. Participants should request an API Key prior to the workshop at http://dp.la/info/developers/codex/policies/#get-a-key. Please review the API Basics (http://dp.la/info/developers/codex/api-basics/) or browse the apps page (http://dp.la/apps) to see some examples of production apps. DPLA has made sample code and libraries for Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, and Node.js (http://dp.la/info/developers/sample-code-and-libraries/), which may provide a useful starting point for development. A troubleshooting and FAQ page (http://dp.la/info/developers/codex/troubleshooting/) is also available.


digital libraries; API; linked data; DPLA; hackathon