MITH API Workshop [White Paper]

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Funded by a Level 1 Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, the MITH API Workshop took place at the University of Maryland, February 25-26th, 2011, gathering digital humanities scholars and developers interested in using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with leaders from industry who have designed and deployed web-based APIs for their companies. An API can be informally defined as a set of published commands that computer programmers can use in their own code to interact with code that they did not write and to which they often have only limited access. For example, an API is often provided to allow third party programmers to retrieve data from a repository that they do not control. The value of this for a humanities scholar cannot be understated as APIs allow access to data that may allow them to ask different questions that the application interface allows and/or combine data from disparate repositories into a single archive to illuminate unknown or unacknowledged connections. As such, the purpose of the workshop was to lay groundwork for the integration of APIs into participant-driven digital humanities projects and to serve as a platform to develop future ideas for how to share and access humanities data through APIs.