Big fan of TED talks? Think you can do something stellar if only you had an API with RESTful access to the TED library and its data? Now through May 16, the TED folks are issuing up to 50 API keys to developers "whose vision and plan we believe will set the standard for new ways to power ideas worth spreading through the TEDapi program." You might even get to show off your app at TEDGlobal 2012.

The selection criteria is made up of five categories, from "awesomeness" to "strategic." Basically, the TED folks are looking for apps that are much like their talks. They want to see original apps that are high-quality and likely to catch on. As the site says, "extra points for using open source code" in building the app.

The APIs will provide access to XML or JSON-formatted responses that includes the TED library and its metadata, like the languages, speakers, ratings, tags for the talks, and so forth. See the API page to get an idea what you'd be working with.

The terms of use give a good idea what you can (and can't) do with the data. TED will allow commercial use with a license agreement from TED. No physical goods (DVDs, etc.) allowed, and use of the API gives TED the right to perform analytics on the app's use of the TED API. Note that that API access does not convey the right to edit the TED talks themselves, as they're licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, which does not permit modified works.

The 50-person limit is temporary as part of a test drive, but if you're wanting to make a splash with a TED app, getting in early would be a good way to do it. Good luck, and if you have an app to show off, let us know about it!