Searching the Library of Congress with Python and their new JSON API

I recently read Michael J. Bennett‘s article, Countering Stryker’s Punch: Algorithmically Filling the Black Hole, in the latest edition of code4lib and wow, great stuff!

Bennett is comparing Adobe Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill tool and a GIMP technique I haven’t seen before as part of a workflow to digitally restore areas in photographs with no picture due to a hole punch having been taken to the physical negative. Part of Roy Stryker’s legacy at the FSA. You can read more about the negatives in Bennett’s article, this recent feature by Alan Taylor in The Atlantic and in Eric Banks’s review of what sounds like an amazing gallery show by William E. Jones in NY in 2010 in The Paris Review.

Library of Congress Search Results totaled 2,474

Library of Congress Search Results

I have been dipping my toes into computer vision recently and thought expanding upon Bennett’s work seems a good and educating challenge. A quick search at the Library of Congress returns nearly 2,500 results so this would also be a pretty good-sized data set to work on for a beginner with a bunch of exceptions and tweaking for edge-cases, but also a LOT of images and metadata to gather!

Continue reading