Standing for application programming interface, an API is a part of a database or server that allows a user to request and send information. For instance, The Weather Channel allows developers to access forecasts as data. Thus, different programs and applications (such as the iPhone Weather app) can retrieve this data through requests.
The Harvard Art Museums has its own API, accessible and free to all. The museum’s API contains all of its information on artworks, artists, exhibitions, and the categorizations used to describe the two. Its data comes from three sources:
The primary source of data, TMS consists of information manually inputted by museum staff.
Used to determine website traffic, Google Analytics data reveals the online view counts for art pieces.
Utilizing five different machine vision programs, artificial intelligence data exposes how computers interpret artworks in the collection.
Nevertheless, by recognizing its incongruities, the user can work through messy data to access untold stories and unsolved questions.