You can use our metadata to create a new widget, mashup or application. We have an Application Programmer’s Interface (API) that is easy to use and quick to get started with.  Via the API you can submit search queries to return metadata for individual projects, partners or subjects.

The API is based upon OpenSearch, and by default takes a Lucene style query syntax.  The API is available via a rate limiting proxy, and we don’t issue usage keys: by using the API you agree to having your use of it monitored.  API search requests are limited to 100 requests per hour.  The data made available through the API is licenced as Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales, and you are asked to provide a credit and link back to Black Country History in your application or mashup.   For non-rate limited, or commercial use, of the data please contact us for licensing terms.

Getting Started

The search records API call is passed a search query and returns a corresponding result set.

URL Format[REQUEST PARAMETERS]&fq[]=dcterms.isPartOf:BCH&facet=on

you must have: queryType=lucene

fq[]=dcterms.isPartOf:BCH to search one dataset

Datasets are:
BCH – Blackcountry
CFTF – Staffordshire and Stoke
DSH – Shropshire
COV – Coventry


you must have q=search term


startPage=N the offset from which the result list paging should start, default is 1

count=N the number of the results to return in the listing, the default is 15

sort=title – the field upon which results are sorted. If sort isn’t specified the results are sorted by relevance. sort by title is the other option

facet=on – show the default facet lists

facet.mincount=10 – show only facets with at least 10 documents in the index

format=rss – other formats to follow, defaults to RSS


Advanced Query Syntax

q=+term1 +term2   both terms must match in documents

q=+term1 -term2  term1 must be in documents, term2 must not be in documents

q=dc.subject:term1  search only dc.subject index


By default, all contents are searched.  You can narrow this to just the following Qualified Dublin Core indices:

  • dc.subject
  • dc.creator
  • dcterms.temporal
  • dcterms.spatial
  • dc.title
  • dc.source
  • dcterms.format

Additional Query Filters

If you wish to have additional Filter Query parameters, supply them in the standard array syntax.  So, to show only results with a thumbnail image, use fq[]=have_thumbnail:1


fq[]=type:museum filters just for museum records

Above all, have fun :-)

If you have any questions please email the developers at [email protected]

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