Here’s yet another bit of Labs which we’re just kicking off – this time a big one (as in people who love data will love it). We’ve called it Nucleus, as in the centre of something, because it’s a little scheme of ours which aims to draw all the information which drives the heart of the University into one set of APIs.
The first very early look at our aim is the Locations API, or at least part of it. This is a RESTful interface (for those of you who know your types of API) to our database backend which runs on the frankly amazing MongoDB. The result is a really, really fast and flexible search of rooms.
To start with it’s been loaded with a small subset of the Spaces Database maintained by Estates, but in future this database will contain just about everything there is to know about a room. How many seats it has, which direction the windows face, if it’s air conditioned, if it has beanbags, when was it last carpeted and more could all (potentially) become available.
We’ll be adding application authentication to the Nucleus APIs soon (don’t worry, we aim to be pretty flexible about handing out keys) but for now the GET method to take a look at our rooms is open access. We know some bits of it are a bit flaky (floors) and some are just missing altogether (features, which worked with our 6-room test set but which we haven’t filled out data for the extended one) but we hope to improve those as soon as possible. Take a look at the documentation and see what you can make it do.
Nucleus is planned to initially include data on most of the University’s buildings and rooms (including some lovely geographical and even turn-by-turn routing data for all you mapping junkies) as well as read-only access to limited student and staff data, grouping data (for example classes or research groups) and course data (such as degree titles, who runs them and so on).
If you’re interested in getting hold of an API key and access to Nucleus once it becomes closed then you can ask (it’s free!) by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s not limited to IT staff, it’s not limited to staff and it’s not even limited to people at Lincoln!