API requests which only read public data do not require authorization.

API requests made as a particular user or which manage user accounts or groups require authorization.

Access tokens

API requests which read or write data as a specific user need to be authorized with an access token. Access tokens can be obtained in two ways:

  1. By generating a personal API token on the Hypothesis developer page (you must be logged in to Hypothesis to get to this page). This is the simplest method, however these tokens are only suitable for enabling your application to make requests as a single specific user.

  2. By registering an “OAuth client” and implementing the OAuth authentication flow in your application. This method allows any user to authorize your application to read and write data via the API as that user. The Hypothesis client is an example of an application that uses OAuth.

    See Using OAuth for details of how to implement this method.

Once an access token has been obtained, requests can be authorized by putting the token in the Authorization header.

Example request:

GET /api HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Authorization: Bearer $TOKEN

(Replace $TOKEN with your own API token or OAuth access token.)

Client credentials

Endpoints for managing user accounts are authorized using a client ID and secret (“client credentials”). These can be obtained by registering an OAuth client with the grant type set to client_credentials.

Once a client ID and secret have been obtained, requests are authorized using HTTP Basic Auth, where the client ID is the username and the client secret is the password.

For example, with client details as follows

Client ID: 96653f8e-80be-11e6-b32b-c7bcde86613a
Client Secret: E-hReVMuRyZbyr1GikieEw4JslaM6sDpb18_9V59PFw

you can compute the Authorization header [as described in RFC7617](

$ echo -n '96653f8e-80be-11e6-b32b-c7bcde86613a:E-hReVMuRyZbyr1GikieEw4JslaM6sDpb18_9V59PFw' | base64

Example request:

POST /users HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Content-Type: application/json
Authorization: Basic OTY2NTNmOGUtODBiZS0xMWU2LWIzMmItYzdiY2RlODY2MTNhOkUtaFJlVk11UnlaYnlyMUdpa2llRXc0SnNsYU02c0RwYjE4XzlWNTlQRnc=

  "authority": "",
  "username": "jbloggs1",
  "email": ""