A Calm Watering Place — Extensive and Boundless Scene with Cattle, 1816. Alvan Fisher (American, 1792–1863). Oil on panel; unframed: 78 x 102.2 cm (30 11/16 x 40 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1994.106

Recently I launched a little micro-project for The Studio called CC0 Email. It’s pretty simple — subscribe, and I send you an image from the public domain every weekday around 8am.


I’ve been using a product called Fathom Analytics since November and I really love it. I thought I’d write up a sort of mini-review of my time with the product and let you know why I think you might want to consider it as well.

For a long time I had been grappling with my blanket use of Google Analytics both for my personal website and for the client projects I work on at Micah Walter Studio and of course in my previous role as the “webmaster” at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

As a web person, GA was always…


M+的應用程式介面(API)會成為博物館網頁、展廳科技及應用程式的「大腦」。(插圖由Justine Braisted繪畫)

我叫Micah Walter,是紐約Micah Walter Studio的創辦人,專門協助世界各地博物館建立數碼產品及設計數碼體驗。最近一年半,我一直與M+合作,協助它推行「開放取用」計劃,將館藏放到網上公諸於眾,並建立所需的工具及基礎結構。這個計劃原本只為探索該館快速增加的館藏,但很快就發展成一個長期項目,並以開放藏品並使其易於取用為目標。這段經歷十分精彩,我很高興能訴諸筆墨,與大家深入分享。

在我們與M+的合作中,最重要的一項在於建立其開放取用數據集及應用程式介面(API),讓開發人員、學生、合作者及M+本身以編程方式存取藏品。9月初,M+向全世界開放首批公共數據集,並舉行了首個關於數碼藝術的座談會「M+ 思考:數碼領域裏的藝術與設計」。除了開放數據外,M+更推出了首個公共API,讓開發人員以編程方式存取這個數據集。

此文將從技術層面深入探究API,並介紹可以以哪些有趣的方式運用這些開放予全世界的資料。如果你想得到更多靈感,不妨看看M+團隊成員王碧雲為回顧「M+數據設計黑客松」所撰的文章。「M+數據設計黑客松」已於本年9月舉行,是「M+思考」講座的一部分,以慶祝M+推出API及發佈首個開放數據集。

如何使用M+ API

目前M+ API上的數據,是與在M+的GitHub頁面上公開的一樣。現在,M+ API是為滿足開發人員的需要而存在。若你撰寫應用程式或bot時需要以實時方式取用M+的數據,M+ API可大派用場。如你正進行數據分析或數據視覺化,就更應該考慮以單一CSV檔案從GitHub下載數據集。

有了M+ API,你便可以輕鬆探索M+藏品系列的數據集,自行建立複雜查詢,並將M+的數據整合到你的應用程式。API內的數據每晚都會更新,這表示你的應用程式亦會每晚更新。

想着手運用數據,請到https://api.mplus.org.hk建立帳戶。你可以用電郵地址登記,或以Twitter或Facebook登入。登入後,系統會將獨一無二的API密鑰寄給你。當你在應用程式對API建立請求時,將須使用這個密鑰。儀表版和API Playground調試工具會自動將你的API密鑰加到代碼段例子及playground請求。

現在,你已登記帳戶並得到API密鑰,可以開始使用API你可閱讀指南,嘗試一些代碼段例子,或運行API Playground調試工具;利用這個工具,你可隨心所欲地建立及進行查詢測試,並在瀏覽器看到所得結果。API Playground調試工具是將意念發展成原型及建立查詢的好地方;它設有探索的工具,讓你發掘不同查詢數據集的方式,並留下所有調用測試的歷史,方便查看紀錄及重複測試。

指南中亦有很多請求樣本,示範你可查詢的項目。每項都有以Javascript書寫的代碼段例子,並連結到Playground調試工具,以快速運行例子。

例如,你可運行以下查詢,開始使用API:

query {
hello
}

這個查詢向API發出一個簡單請求,並產生以下結果:

{
"data": {
"hello": "world"
}
}

這樣就能確保你的API密鑰運作正常,方法十分簡單。

體驗進行到這裏,難免會有點累。接下來,不如試試以下查詢:

query {
objects(page:0, per_page: 5, area: "Moving Image") {
id
objectNumber
title
displayDate
medium
classification {
area
category
}
}
}

在這個例子中,我們請求API回傳類別為「流動影像」的物件清單,更請求系統給予特定的結果:我們想知道這些物件的id、物件號碼(objectNumber)、標題(title)、展示日期(displayDate)、媒材(medium),及其他它們所屬的分類。我們亦指明僅顯示首五個結果。

我們在建立API時挑選了一個獨特的功能,名為GraphQL。GraphQL是API上的查詢語言,讓開發人員自定請求以接收所需數據,而不是大量不必要的混亂數據。這亦代表開發人員會預先知道將會收到哪些數據,因為請求的形式是他們自行創建的。

我的首個項目

在「M+數據設計黑客松」中,同為黑客松主持的Jane Pong和我決定也參與一下活動,建立屬於我們的原型。Jane選擇利用便利貼,實物模擬將藏品數據視覺化;而我則利用API,着手建立簡單應用程式,將藝術品名稱翻譯成繪文字。

這是編碼的副本:https://gist.github.com/micahwalter/8c4c2fca2f12ab85157736b2d751229f

過程十分簡單。

我建立了以下請求,以獲取物件名稱:

{
objects(per_page: 200) {
id
title
}
}

然後,我將物件名稱放到名為「moji-translate」的套件,將文字翻譯為繪文字。翻譯結果會到網頁上顯示,就像這樣:


The M+ API will act as the “brain” for the museum’s websites, gallery-technology, and apps. ( Illustration by Justine Braisted )

My name is Micah Walter, and I am the founder of Micah Walter Studio, a digital studio based in New York City focused on helping museums around the world create digital products and experiences. I’ve been working with M+ for the past year and a half to help the museum bring its collections online through an open access initiative, as well as help them build the tools and infrastructure required to do so. What began as an exploration into the museum’s rapidly growing collections quickly evolved into a long term project, aimed at making these collections as open and accessible…


Incubating thoughts and ideas for 365 days.

For the past few weeks we’ve been digital nomads, working from home, meeting online, and in coffee shops. I’ve been traveling a bit, and checking in with the team via Slack. It’s been, unsettling being out and about for this long, unsure of how things are progressing hour by hour, minute by minute. I need to learn how to let go a little and let things brew on their own.

Earlier this week we moved back into our home at NEW INC. We’re here for another year as part of the Museum Technology…


There’s an API method hiding in plain site on the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum called whatWouldMicahSay. It returns a random “saying” made up of quotes I may or may not have actually said during my time at the museum. It started off as a way for Aaron to harass me while I was delivering a talk at the Museum Computer Network conference in Montreal in 2013. As I was talking, and people were tweeting what I was saying, Aaron live teased me by adding his version of the quotes to an API method, driving me completely insane.


Quarterly update about my time at NewInc.

Time sure flies when you’re having fun. I can hardly believe it’s been three months since I set up camp at the NewInc offices at 231 Bowery. It’s been a crazy three months, and I’ve been pretty silent about all that’s been going on, so I think now is as good a time as any to write some of it down and give you all a little behind the scenes look into what’s been going on at 231 Bowery.

I started this experiment back in March after leaving a job as Director of…


I’m super excited to announce that this week I will be setting up camp as a 2017/2018 member at NEW INC., New Museum’s technology incubator program in New York City.

As a recipient of the Knight Foundation Museum Innovation fellowship, I’ll be engaging with technology as a means of developing creative solutions for the specific challenges organizations face in making their collections and programming openly accessible to a full range of public audiences.

The Studio

I’ll be collaborating with like minded museum professionals, artists, creative technologists, engineers and designers. Through these new partnerships, we will form a new studio practice focused on…


Today is my last day at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. It’s been an incredible seven years. You can read all about my departure over on my personal blog if you are interested. I’ve got some exciting things on the horizon, so would love it if you’d follow me!

Parting gifts

Before I leave, I have been working on a couple last “parting gifts” which I’d like to talk a little about here. The first one is a new feature on our Collections website, which I’ve been working on in the margins with former Labs member, Aaron Straup Cope. He did most…

Micah Walter

Art, technology, museums, design, work, photography, and writing.

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