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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

The Rijksmuseum API


In November 2011 The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam launched its API (Application Programming Interface) as part of the contest “Apps4NL” (Apps for The Netherlands). It didn’t take the Collection Information Department and webbuilders long to develop a technical plan, build and launch the API platform. Our quality driven and structured approach of collection automation helped us enormously.

How did we design our API and implement Open Data for our Collection Information? What standards and structures were implemented to get our data open (easily)? And what are our experiences with Open Data?

In this practical demonstration we would like to give an insight in the Rijksmuseum API project:

  • how do we enter information in structured formats in our collection information databases,
  • how do we deal with copyright and legal issues,
  • what Open Data strategies did we choose,
  • how did we build our API,
  • how did our colleagues and the outside world respond (and how did we explain what we were doing)?

In the last month 75 developers have subscribed to our API, four Apps were built with our collection and we have national and international requests for information and cooperation. We would like to present our Open Data project from biginning to end and discuss our experiences with colleagues at the conference.

We would also like to share our plans for the future: how can Open Data help us to create more, new and better ways of distributing our collections and how can our API help us get new insights and gain more information about our collections?


Links and information:


Demonstration - show your project


LizzyJongma's picture
Worked in the field of collection automation and digitization for 15 years. Is now datamanager at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands