What’s an API?

An API, or application programming interface, is sort of like a pipeline to and from data. Many museums have APIs for their collection data, so that people can access and search museum data, and even create custom applications with it.

Our museum has an API! That’s because Omeka sites come with that functionality, and I switched the “on” button.

You can interact with an API using a special client, or, to do simple things, you can just use your web browser.

To start, copy and paste the following URL into your web browser.


This is sort of like the homepage for the API.

To view a list of public items in our Omeka site, enter the following URL.


You’ll see a list of items in our collection, formatted as JSON data. JSON is a data format designed for computers to read.

You can get more detail on a particular item by entering its ID number in the URL, like this.


Can you figure out how to get a list of files? How about more detail on a particular file? Can you figure out how to get a list of collections? How about tags?