External data

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The Portal will interact with multiple instances of Specify (e.g. the one hosted by the Harvard Herbarium); multiple instances of CartoDB (e.g. the ones hosted by MapOfLife and Canadensys); Morphbank; GBIF; and a number of other data and service providers. In general, all resources with which the Portal will interact are accessible via HTTP API, and the Portal will be required to process external data during dynamic page construction.

The External Data extension to enables data to be extracted from external web sources, and mapped to local variables. It is used in conjunction with SMW and Internal Objects extensions to generate triples from the returned data.

The extension is flexible in several respects:

  • it allows both get and post queries;
  • it supports the retrieval of CSV, XML, JSON, and GFF formatted data. (GFF is the Generic Feature Format for genomic data.)
  • it supports authenticating with and querying external relational databases databases.


TO DO: Illustrate with an example of dynamically importing external data and exporting as RDF.