Archive for October, 2010

Introducing the OpenCourseWare Meta Data API

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

A key part of OpenCourseWare is the meta data associated with each course. Meta data are course attributes like the instructors, the teaching date, which institution released the course, etc.

To make OCW Search to work like it does, I went through a lot of trouble to make sure that I extract correct meta data about each course. The meta data has always been partially useful and available in the form of advanced search queries and also displayed in the search results.

As of now, you can programatically get this data using the new OCW Search Meta Data API. It does what its name suggests: It gives you all the core (useful) meta data I track for each of the courses in OCW Search. It shares many of the design features of the search API, so your experience of the search API directly translates into useful knowledge of the meta data API.

Important note: The meta data API is currently considered in beta testing although it is quite stable and works really well. It is likely though that some implementation features will change before being labelled stable, so please keep an eye for updates here and on the API mailing list.

MERLOT: The Meta Data API Launch Partner

The meta data API was the result of a request and a collaboration with MERLOT, a program of the California State University. The idea came during a conversation between me and the team at MERLOT, which in retrospect made me slap my head thinking why I didn’t I think of it previously. Together, me and the team at MERLOT worked on building, testing, and finally integrating the OCW Search meta into the MERLOT collection using this API. For their prompting and help in getting this API to this stage, I want to deeply thank the team at MERLOT.

This actually is an important point: I am always open for ideas to make OCW Search better and more useful, particularly if it supports the spirit of spreading the discoverability and utility of OpenCourseWare. If you have an idea, please get in touch!

Again, to get started, see the OCW Search Meta Data API home page.