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Crowdsourcing with Open APIs

Information systems play a central role in the daily operation of most institutions. Each institution may have a wide range of information systems at their disposal, some of which may be proprietary and others open source. In either case, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the users to contribute back to these systems with anything other than a bug report or a feature request. Consequently these systems evolve very slowly.

At Instituto Superior Técnico, we recently made available a unified and open REST API that allows anyone to develop their own applications using the data stored in our information systems, without having to be limited to the particular technology adopted for their implementation. This API allows for easier integration with other systems and takes advantage of the availability of relatively easy to use software development kits (for example for mobile platforms). The main objective of this API is to promote creativity while harnessing the potential development capabilities of the entire community, from students, to teachers, to third party software vendors.

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