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InPhO - The Internet Philosophy Ontology Project

InPhO API Docs

The InPhO offers much of its data through a REST API in JSON and RDF formats.


We are committed to open access, with data available via a REST API, a monthly OWL archive of the ontology, visualizations and datafiles posted on our datablog, and source code at GitHub. All data uses the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.

InPhO maintains an open-access application platform interface (API) to facilitate collaboration with digital humanities and semantic web programmers. This API is built upon the principles of REpresentational State Transfer (REST), a paradigm of web service development which leverages the ubiquotus HTTP protocol to provide a common interface for object manipulation.

Every idea, thinker and journal in the InPhO knowledge base may be retrieved in both a human-readable HTML page and a machine-readable JSON object. Entities may be manipulated through the four basic HTTP Request Methods: POST (create), GET (retrieve/list), PUT (update), DELETE. Authentication is handled through HTTP Basic Authentication over a secure SSL connection. Due to the stateless nature of a RESTful web service, each request is completely self-contained, eliminating the need for session scoping.

A detailed technical specification is below:

API Structure

URIGETPUTPOSTDELETE/entity list – – – /entity/{id} view – – – /idea list – create – /idea/{id} view update – delete /idea/{id}/graph view – – – /idea/{id}/{relation} list – – – /idea/{id}/{relation}/{id2} – update create delete /thinker list – create – /thinker/{id} view update – delete /thinker/{id}/graph view – – – /thinker/{id}/{relation}/{id2} – update create – /journal list – create – /journal/{id} view update – delete /school_of_thought list – – – /school_of_thought/{id} view – – – /work list – – – /work/{id} view – – – /taxonomy list – – – /taxonomy/{id} view – – –

Adding a file extension will return the appropriate format for GET requests. Currently implemented:

URIdefaulthtmljsonxml/entity html y y – /entity/{id} html y y – /idea html y y – /idea/{id} html y y – /idea/{id}/graph html y y – /idea/{id}/{relation} html y y – /idea/{id}/{relation}/{id2} – – – – /thinker html y y – /thinker/{id} html y y – /thinker/{id}/graph html y y – /thinker/{id}/{relation}/{id2} – – – – /journal html y y – /journal/{id} html y y – /taxonomy html y y – /taxonomy/{id} html y y – /school_of_thought html y y – /school_of_thought/{id} html y y – /work html y y – /work/{id} html y y –
Thinker-Thinker {relation}s
influenced, influenced_by, teacher_of, student_of
Idea-Idea {relation}s
classes, instances, links, hyponyms, related FIX: generality, relatedness
Idea {relation}s
FIX: nationality, profession

Response Codes

Code using our platform should handle the 6 HTTP Responses below for all Methods, unless otherwise noted.

Request processed, success
HTTP 400 Bad Request
Only for: POST, PUT Request did not validate (ex: teacher_of can only have a degree of 0 or 1 (y/n) - if degree=3 you will get an HTTP 400)
HTTP 401 Unauthorized
Only for: Permissioned methods (see chart below) Unable to be authorized, self explanatory.
HTTP 404 Not Found
One of the ids passed was invalid, so the resource could not be found
HTTP 405 Method Not Allowed
The URL does not support the request method. (ex: Using GET on an evaluation url)
HTTP 409 Conflict
Only for: POST, PUT Valid request, but there are conflicts (ex. creating a journal with an ISSN that is already in the db)
HTTP 500 Internal Server Error
Thrown if there are currently issues with the InPhO service.


There are five levels of authentication - from most restrictive to least restrictive, each role has the privileges of all lesser roles:

public GET user evaluation POST creator evaluation PUT, DELETE curator entity PUT, POST, DELETE admin all permissions

Request Parameters

GET Parameters

/idea, /journal, /entity, /taxonomy, /thinker, /work, /school_of_thought
string: sep, q boolean: redirect int: limit

POST/PUT Parameters

String: ISSN, URL boolean: openAccess, student, active (pass blank for false - ex. “?openAccess=&student=&active=”)
/idea, /journal, /entity, /taxonomy, /thinker, /work, /school_of_thought
String: sep_dir
/idea/{id}, /journal{id}, /entity{id}, /taxonomy{id}, /thinker{id}, /work{id}, /school_of_thought{id}
String: sep_dir
boolean: sep_filter
int: degree (0:4)
int: degree (0:4)

Quick Start

The quickest way to get started is to use the command line tool curl:



To send a query for a specific SEP directory


curl -X PUT -d "degree=1" -u username:password

For platforms which do not support the PUT method (including HTML4 forms), one can make a POST request with the parameter _method=PUT which will be translated to the appropriate request on the server-side:

curl -d "_method=PUT&degree=3" -u username:password

curl -X POST -d "label=epistemology" -u username:password
curl -X DELETE -u username:password curl -X DELETE -u username:password


Developers may use any language to code against the API, provided they use the HTTP protocol. These are some reccommended url libraries for common development languages:

PHP curl Python urllib Perl WWW::curl Ruby Net::HTTP C libcurl C++ curlpp C# System.Net.HttpWebRequest Java HttpClient Common Lisp AllegroServe JavaScript XMLHttpRequest JavaScript jQuery.Post jQuery.Ajax [useful notes on PUT and DELETE] JavaScript YAHOO.util.Connect.asyncRequest [example] [docs]


InPhO maintains a separate server for development testing. Applications should be tested on [] before switching to []. InPhOdev maintains a separate database to avoid data pollution issues during development. The data is periodically replaced with the newest data from InPhO.

More REST Resources