- 1 iDigBio API Overview
- 2 iDigBio API Mailing List
- 3 Specification
- 4 Examples
- 5 Quick Start
- 6 Searching iDigBio
- 7 Full Recordset Downloads
- 8 Client Libraries
- 9 Suggestions?
iDigBio API Overview
This document serves as the starting page of official documentation for the iDigBio Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio) is the National Resource for Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) funded by the National Science Foundation. Through ADBC, data and images for millions of biological specimens are being made available in electronic format for the research community, government agencies, students, educators, and the general public. iDigBio is a data aggregator. This means that data is provided to iDigBio through various publishing mechanisms.
Many consumers of the iDigBio aggregated data will choose to use the iDigBio Portal web site. Although our portal has many features, to facilitate integration of iDigBio data with other web sites, services, or research uses, iDigBio provides APIs in order to provide direct access to our data. We ourselves make use of these APIs in our portal and other data services so any functionality you see there, as well as functions not available through the portal, can be done through APIs yourself.
The iDigBio APIs are an abstraction layer for retrieving data from the iDigBio back-end data systems. This abstraction allows reuse and mashup of aggregated data without needing to understand the complex underlying details of the back-end data storage. Currently, the public APIs support HTTP GET and POST requests for data read operations only. The iDigBio APIs are RESTful web services that delivers data primarily as JSON documents.
iDigBio API Mailing List
Please join our list at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are using our APIs. Besides providing notification of API changes, the mailing list gives direct access to the iDigBio API developers and is a good place to ask questions or give and receive feedback.
You can join via the web at: http://lists.ufl.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=IDIGBIO-API-USERS-L
The iDigBio API v2 / iDigBio Search API specification includes detailed information about the Search API endpoints, parameters, query format, values, and returns. It is available in the github wiki associated with the code repository. The iDigBio Search API was released to production in June 2015.
iDigBio transitioned from version 1 to version 2 (v1 to v2) of the API. All v1 endpoints and documentation should be considered deprecated, even if they continue to function. Programmers who are interested in accessing data directly in iDigBio via an API should consult the v2 API documentation. The v2 API is also known as the iDigBio Search API.
The now-deprecated iDigBio API v1 Specification includes detailed information about the old v1 API endpoints, parameters, values, and returns. In most cases, the only reason to use the v1 API was to retrieve raw, unprocessed versions of a record (e.g. no iDigBio data quality enhancements) or to access previous versions of a particular record.
iDigBio API endpoints follow the general form:
In nearly all cases, a successful API request returns data as a JSON-formatted document.
Many error cases will also return a JSON-formatted document rather than a bare HTTP status failure.
Search Portal and Bulk Record Downloads
The easiest method for searching iDigBio is to use the Portal website search features, not the API. The portal also provides bulk download capabilities for acquiring larger sets of data. See: https://www.idigbio.org/portal
The iDigBio Search API has be released and the June 2015 version of the portal is based on this API.
Specimen Web Map Module
The iDigBio Portal Search page map is also provided as a stand-alone module for use in any third-party web site. Go to the Specimen Map page for details on using the map.
Full Recordset Downloads
Instead of generating large queries in the portal or with the API, it may be easier to download iDigBio data from regular dumps of all data in iDigBio. These dumps are available from s.idigbio.org. This is an S3-compatible object store (although it can be treated as a web server if that is easier) that contains .zip files of each record set in iDigBio named by recordset uuid as well as files containing all data across all records sets.
Client libraries, packages, and modules are pieces of software that make it easier to interface with the iDigBio API. The following list includes the known iDigBio libraries that are currently available.
ridigbio R Package for Search API
R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS.
The ridigbio R package is an "official" client library in the iDigBio code repository.
iDigBio Python Library for Search API
The Python client library is available via PyPI:
or just use pip:
pip install idigbio
The client code can also be found at github if you wish to help develop the library:
The iDigBio Python library is an "official" client library in the iDigBio code repository.
idigbio_client Ruby Gem
The idigbio_client ruby gem is available:
which can be installed via:
gem install idigbio_client
The idigbio_client ruby gem is a "community-supported" client library with software repository currently at:
If you are in need of other client libraries or iDigBio API features, please use the feedback button to submit your request.