APIs & custom development

The only way of accessing information from CONTENTdm® programmatically is via its PHP API. This is a simple procedural API consisting of a few dozen PHP functions. The CONTENTdm® PHP API is enabled by a proprietary PHP extension, which bridges the PHP environment with the CONTENTdm® system which is distributed as a number of executable binaries. The dmBridge PHP API is, in part, an abstraction of this API.


CONTENTdm® PHP API documentation is available to CONTENTdm® customers by request from OCLC.

CONTENTdm® does not have a provision for modules, extensions, or any other way of altering its functionality. Any customization must therefore be implemented outside it, and if it needs to persist data, it must do so externally from CONTENTdm®. This imposes certain limitations; for example, custom persistent data in a relational database like MySQL cannot be searched in conjunction with CONTENTdm® metadata because the CONTENTdm® search engine cannot "see" it, and vice versa.