I’ve just opened up an API for accessing data from the site, something that might be useful to other developers. If you don’t know what an API (application programming interface) is, no need to worry, and you can safely ignore it!
You can read the documentation which explains how to access the API and what’s available. It’s possible to retrieve lists of Diary Entries, Encyclopedia Categories and Encyclopedia Topics, along with more detail about individual items.
It’s not possible to retrieve information about registered users of the site, the content of annotations, or any of the other text written by the site’s users (such as the diary summaries, In-depth Articles, or the lengthy summaries written for a few Encyclopedia Topics). The only text available through the API is taken from the copyright-free 1893 edition of the diary that we use, or is written by me (e.g. the brief pop-up “tooltip” summaries available for some of the Encyclopedia Topics). I didn’t want to get into difficult issues of copyright, and the re-use of material elsewhere.
I’ve no idea if this will be useful to anyone, and if so what they’ll want to do with it, but it’s there if anyone needs it in the future. Thanks to Tom Stuart for sense-checking some of my decisions while developing this.