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John Hutchinson Bird Song Collection API

John Hutchinson Bird Song Collection API

Of all the bizarre data we make available via our system, I'd say that John Hutchinson's Bird Song collection nears the top of the list. When we recently asked clients what data they'd like easy access to (providing them links to various sources), one response came back asking for access to a Bird Song collection provided by the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA).

John Hutchinson, a ornithologist and a birdcall recordist, died of natural causes (aged 87) on August 8th, 2015 in Western Australia. Upon his death, Mr. Hutchinson left his life's work to be archived in the NFSA, the SLWA and the Museum of Bunbury. His work is rather extraordinary, and his recordings of the bird songs and music of remote Aboriginal communities from the Pilbara are believed to be unique.

The State Library of Western Australia has made a portion of Mr. Hutchinson's work available online, and our API serves to provide access to those recording.

The Result

The endpoint for the small number of requests is as follows: http://api.beliefmedia.com/australia/wa/birdsong.json. We support individual results, paginated results, and paginated searches.

A GET request to birdsong.json?apikey=xxxxx&id=b36089746 returns JSON data that unfolds as follows:

1
Array
2
(
3
    [code] => 200
4
    [status] => 200
5
    [message] => OK
6
    [source] => State Library of Western Australia
7
    [data] => Array
8
        (
9
            [title] => John Hutchinson's bird songs recorded on 11 October 1962.
10
            [date] => 1962
11
            [description] => 1 audiotape reel (approximately 14 min.)
12
            [notes] => Copied onto 7 inch spool No. 1, from 2.5-10 minutes on 20 Oct 1962. Recorded using Fi-Cord 1A portable reel-to-reel tape recorder.
13
            [summary] => John Hutchinson is an ornithologist and a birdcall recordist. Tape 1A1, consists of field recordings of bird calls and sounds at the Gascoyne Research Station, Carnarvon, Western Australia on 11 Oct 1962. This tape reel is accompanied by a field note. ACC 8661A/1.
14
            [caption] => Array
15
                (
16
                    [0] => John Hutchinson's bird songs recorded on 11 October 1962. Part 1
17
                    [1] => John Hutchinson's bird songs recorded on 11 October 1962. Part 1
18
                )
19
 
20
            [subject] => Array
21
                (
22
                    [subject_array] => Array
23
                        (
24
                            [0] => Birds
25
                            [1] => Birdsongs
26
                            [2] => Birdsongs
27
                            [3] => Honeyeaters
28
                            [4] => Wedgebills
29
                            [5] => Peaceful doves
30
                        )
31
 
32
                    [subject_string] => birds,birdsongs,birdsongs,honeyeaters,wedgebills,peaceful doves
33
                )
34
 
35
            [reference] => Array
36
                (
37
                    [local_system_number] => b36089746
38
                    [call_number] => ACC 8661A/1
39
                )
40
 
41
            [audio] => Array
42
                (
43
                    [link] => http://purl.slwa.wa.gov.au/slwa_b3608974_1
44
                    [mp3] => http://purl.slwa.wa.gov.au/slwa_b3608974_1.mp3
45
                    [local] => mp3/slwa_b3608974_1.mp3
46
                    [info] => Array
47
                        (
48
                            [filesize] => 18.75M
49
                            [duration] => 13 min 39 sec
50
                            [duration_seconds] => 819.07
51
                            [bitrate] => 192 kb/s
52
                            [channel] => Stereo
53
                        )
54
 
55
                )
56
 
57
            [source] => State Library of Western Australia
58
        )
59
 
60
)

We provide data that the Library of Western Australia does not - notably the MP3 information (generated via a yet-to-be-discussed API we use for audio). The local array value refers to a copy of the local MP3 file (all audio is available via a 10GB download from the client area).

To search results, use birdsong.json?apikey=xxxxx&type=search&search=yellow. To browse results, exclude the search paramaters (or use type=browse). In both cases we return all data available for each record (identical to the single result). Paginated results are returned by way of the pg and number parameter.

The local_system_number is used to return the individual result.

Copyright may apply to the MP3 file.

Featured Image: National Library of Australia.

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