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I was listening to Did You Hear That? I Think It Was The Sound Of A Walrus, on NPR this morning. It is about the Macaulay Library, which is:

...the world's largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video recordings. Our mission is to collect and preserve recordings of each species' behavior and natural history, to facilitate the ability of others to collect and preserve such recordings, and to actively promote the use of these recordings for diverse purposes spanning scientific research, education, conservation, and the arts.

The library's collection has a total of more than 7,000 hours of sounds, the result of an 80-year collaboration between the scientific community and the library's volunteer collaborators. An amazing resource!

I couldn't help myself, and emailed them, to let them know a web API of the audio and video collection would be a great addition. If developers could build web and mobile apps around the sounds, it would extend the reach of the catalog exponentially.

Of course you'd do it in a way that adds value to the collection and protects it as a brand and priceless asset.

The digitizing of the Macaulay Library, making it available online is a great example of the potential of open content, data and APIs. Our world is full of rich resources like this, we just need to digitize and make accessible in sensible ways that make them available to the widest audience possible.




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