Digital Collections

API and Machine Access

We strive to make our open data freely available, but the options we provide for machine-readable metadata access currently consist of somewhat limited and disparate services. If you have a project that could benefit from more convenient or standardized machine-accessible APIs for metadata access, please get in touch to share your use case.


We have an OAI-PMH feed which can give access to our metadata in an XML format. The fields are based on the OAI-DC schema, with extensions suggested by the DPLA metadata application profile, as this feed's main use case is DPLA use.

This metadata includes standardized basic descriptive attributes, but does not include all internal, administrative, and relational metadata.

You can bulk harvest via an OAI-PMH 2.0 endpoint at

You can also get an oai-dc XML representation for any record by adding .xml to the end of a record's URL. For instance,

Atom feeds

Any search result is available in the Atom Syndication Format. Just add .atom to the path of any search results, for instance: instead of:

  • These Atom results are paginated. Note the pagination links at top.
  • Individual entries include title; thumbnail; brief description; and a link to HTML page.
  • For Works, there are also entries to metadata in OAI-DC XML and local json formats. (We do not currently have further machine-readable metadata available for Collection records, which may also show up in search results).

You can also access atom search results within any collection. This includes listing all items in a collection. For instance, for the Oral History Collection:

Or with a query:

Individual Work metadata

For every "work", you can access metadata in an XML/OAI-DC format, or a local internal JSON format.

The OAI-DC format is a standardized vocabulary (based on DPLA metadata application profile), and should hopefully be fairly stable. However, it includes only a subset of our metadata. E.g.:

The JSON format is a closer representation of our internal metadata, and includes a larger subset of all metadata. However, while we will endeavor to keep it stable, it is more likely to change as a result of internal software changes. E.g.:

At present we do not have an API response that will give access to individual files (for instance page images or audio files).