Open Content & Big Data


Design Notebooks

Let’s take a couple of minutes to review some of your Design Notebooks.

Open Content & Big Data

What is Open Content?


Open Content

Open Apps

What’s an API?

What does API stand for?


Anatomy of an API


The Data Layer

Collection Database Resources – This is your database of collection records, could be in a database management system like MySQL, or even in flat files like CSV or Excel.

The Application Layer

Application Programming Interface – A middleware application in a server-side language like PHP, Ruby, Python or Server Side Javascript (Node.js) that responds to user requests by querying the database and returning the results of the requested action. There are some decent lightweight frameworks available that simplify creating RESTful APIs.

REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs work like web pages, but for machines. You build URL strings to tell the API which resource you want, and make a single request for that resource.

The Presentation Layer

  • Websites
  • Mobile Apps
  • Kiosks/Installations
  • e-paper labels

Why use APIs?


Creating an API

When designing a RESTful API, use nouns to to identify resources. Limit your base URLS to two; one for collections, and one for specific items within a collection.

Examples: /collections - retrieve a listing of all collections /collections/12345 - retrieve info for a specific collection

You can then nest resources to reflect associations between resources.

Examples: /collections/12345/items - retrieve the collection of all items in a specific container /collections/12345/items/54321 - retrieve a specific item in a specific container

To perform actions, use the following HTTP methods when making your REST requests:

  • GET – return the resource set
  • POST – insert a resource
  • PUT – update a resource
  • DELETE – delete a resource

Pragmatically speaking, you’ll often find POST being used in lieu of PUT and DELETE to edit and delete resources.

*Want to design a RESTful api for your collection data? Check out the Apigee Web API Design book!

What is Big Data?



Let’s break up into three groups and work together to create three different example APIs for our partners at the NJSM.

  • Review one of the A Much Moved PeopleCultures In Competition, and New Jersey’s Original People collection descriptions.
  • Think of various ways you might be able to categorize the items (size, date of origin, location of origin, color, etc).
  • Write out these attributes as a list for each kind of object
  • How might you construct an API that would allow other developers to create a web or mobile interface to search each collection?
  • What if NJSM asked you to create a basic RESTful API to do just that. Write out a URL scheme you might use to enable that kind of an API.

Next Week

Map to NJSM

  • 8:30 am – meet at AIMM 222
  • 8:30 am to 10:00 am – Mark Thompson teaches first half of class at IMM
  • 10:30 am to 12 pm – Greg presents Archaeology/Ethnography exhibits covering background and more detail. Beth B. talks about designing these exhibits and Beth C. add Educator’s perspective.
  • noon – drive back to TCNJ


Mobile Apps & Location-based services

  • Read “Mobile Content and Delivery” pp. 16-17 2016 NMC Horizon Report
  • Read “Mobile Apps” in the NMC Horizon Report 2012 Museum Edition, pp. 11-14
  • Read “Location-Based Services” in the NMC Horizon Report 2015 Museum Edition, pp. 40-41
  • Create a new slide in your Design Notebook and title it “Mobile & Location-based Services”
  • From the examples listed in the reading, what was your favorite example of a mobile or location-based service? Why?
  • Can you find any other examples exhibits using mobile or location-based services “in the wild” (could be from museums, libraries, or even retail)? Describe them and why they’re appealing.

NJSM Archaeology/Ethnography Collections

  • Review the A Much Moved PeopleCultures In Competition, and New Jersey’s Original People collection descriptions.
  • Based upon the “Mobile and Location-based Services” reading above, imaging a mobile or location-based service that could effectively present the one of the collections listed above
  • Write a brief paragraph describing your mobile or location-based service

Submitting Your Work

This week’s homework assignment is due next week before class. When you’ve completed them, post the link to your design notebook on canvas & post a comment on this page (Open Content & Big Data), also including the link to your Design Notebook.

Today’s Visit to the NJSM

Map to NJSM

  • 10:00 am – Drive over to NJSM
  • 10:30 am to 11:00 am – Beth Cooper introduces NJSM covering mission, history, audience and how exhibitions are realized
  • 11:00 am to 12:00 pm – Jim Moss presents collections management basics with possible tour of compact storage
  • 12:00pm – drive back to TCNJ