Thursday, September 29, 2011

Flickr Image Integration

Major updates have been underway in Numishare development over the last few months, as exhibited by the recent flurry of blog posts.  One of the more recent advances has been in integrating the flickr API into the Numishare administrative back end, enabling users to attach images from that web service to coin metadata records.  The process is fairly straightforward.  The user:

  1. Signs up for flickr and requests an API key
  2. Inputs the API key into the Numishare settings page and updates the settings
  3. Opens a coin record and inserts an obverse or reverse image
  4. Pastes a URL of a flickr image into the input box and clicks the "Attach" button
When the user clicks this button, an API lookup is called to receive URLs to available image sizes, and each URL is stored in METS elements embedded into the NUDS XML document.

When the coin is saved and published to the search index (Solr), the thumbnail and medium-sized images are stored so that they can be accessed from the search results page (and, obviously, from the coin record itself).

When clicking on the medium-sized images, the user is directed to the flickr URL for that object, per their terms of service.

Leveraging flickr's service for image storage and retrieval has numerous benefits, especially when a collector or institution may have a large body of image files, but not enough web space on the server on which Numishare is installed or if there is a wish to make just the images accessible through other media.  Flickr is a great alternative Numishare's default image uploading mechanism, Remotemagick, an XML-RPC service which is a front-end to imagemagick that interacts with Orbeon for uploading and resizing images.

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