Erevnametrics: API Evaluation

To make the Research Object creator worthwhile, it needs to support obtaining information from a large amount of sources – the point is to aggregate all of the useful data from all these different resources, after all – and as such, we have to have shims that will, at the most basic stage, take some form of data from a source and then pass it on to the Research Object creator in a useful form, in this case, RDF/XML.

Here, I’ve gone through a couple of sites and just evaluated the API for usefulness.

  • Eprints: The easiest to work with – already provides RDF so it’s as simple as passing that to the ROC.
  • Arxiv: Doesn’t provide RDF, but does provide a basic atom feed for each article, from which rdf can be created – I made a shim for this.
  • Slideshare: It’s API provides XML results for both single and groups of slideshows, but require authentication – this could complicate the shim a little. Also provides usage data – the number of downloads, number of comments, number of favourites, etc.
  • Scribd: Also has an API that gives XML formatted groups of results, usage data, and requires authentication.
  • Edshare: Also provides RDF based on the object already, so that can be passed on. As with eprints, the usage data might be the tricky bit to get ahold of.
  • Flickr: Has an API that returns usage info, author info, geolocation, etc. Also requires authentication.
  • Youtube: API returns info, comments, author info etc.

For all sites which don’t provide RDF, the API’s can be used to generate RDF, which the ROC can work on. Even with some of the sites that provide RDF, the idea is to augment the RDF with usage data of the media with the shims. These shims are things that potentially can be written by anyone who wants to support their own information source, and they will have a clearly designed object format that they need to pass back to the UI as JSON.

There are also many many RDFizers that already exist out on the web (lists of examples here and here). Ideally shims can be created that use these to generate RDF content, augment it with whatever useful data can be found, and then pass it to the RO creator. The beauty of the RO creator is that you will be able to unify all of these separate pieces of RDF – Once added to the tool, with RDF generated, these resources will be able to be linked with other resources on the form. For example, if a picture is uploaded and RDF if generated on the picture, and it happens to be a picture of a person who’s profile is added on the RO builder’s UI, you will be able to link the person and the photo as one being the depiction of the other, and when the RO is created, triples that express this relationship will be added to the person’s resource.

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