Beginner: find providedCHO by name (or similar)

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Dimitar Roszenov Ruszev

Mar 1, 2021, 8:38:52 AM3/1/21
to Europeana API forum

Dear all,
please excuse me if this question is out of scope or inappropriate, but i have been reading the provided documentations (Sparql + REST API) and somehow can't come up with a solution. (Background / use case: i am working on a kind of explorative UI for my master thesis.)

Essentially, i would like to be able to obtain -- preferably, using a text search interface -- a high-profile entry point into the database, so that i can show related items / entities.

For example, if i search for "Mona+Lisa", i would like to somehow obtain a link / URI pointing me either to the CHO / Aggregation representing the painting by Leonardo da Vinci. I have tried this via the REST Api, using score-based ordering as well as aggregation field options (eg. title:) but somehow it doesn't seem to work. Am i doing something wrong, or do i have incorrect expectations from the API? Or should i be using the SPARQL api? Or an external database / search engine pointing to prominent europeana CHOs?

Any hint would be greately appreciated!
Many thanks & best regards,

Magnus Sälgö

Mar 1, 2021, 4:33:08 PM3/1/21
Lesson learned is that sometimes the problem is in the quality of the Europeana data see blog, which is very frustrating. 

Magnus Sälgö
Stockholm, Sweden
Wikidata user salgo60

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Magnus Sälgö

Dimitar Roszenov Ruszev

Mar 2, 2021, 4:17:49 AM3/2/21
to Europeana API forum
Dear Magnus,

thank you very much for the insight, this might also clarify some peculiar behaviour i have experienced when browsing the collections.

The validity of Your critique notwithstanding, the technical response to my questions seems to be the entity / suggest part of the API, which currently does not yet implement entities of type work.

Best regards,
dimitar ruszev

Jolan Wuyts

Mar 2, 2021, 5:36:47 AM3/2/21
to Europeana API forum
Dear Dimitar,

Thank you for reaching out! 
You're right that with the Search API, searching for the name of a work won't return a single object that corresponds to that query. Europeana is an aggregator for cultural heritage from thousands of cultural heritage institutions. This means that if you search for, e.g. 'Mona Lisa', you'll get all of the results that relate to that term from every cultural heritage institution we've aggregated content for. 

That becomes quickly apparent if you search for 'Mona Lisa' on our main portal, The results you get are basically the same response you'd get from a Search API query (example Search API query). You'll get objects depicting boats called the Mona Lisa, pictures of people taking photographs of the Mona Lisa, remixes of the painting etc. Our data is very heterogeneous, originating from different cultural heritage institutions with different curators creating metadata in different languages and with different metadating systems. For the 'Mona Lisa' example, you actually get better results when you search for the alternative name of the work, 'La Joconde'. The two most relevant objects are this one and this one for the example you provided. Using first when creating your queries can help a lot to visualise what the response of the Search API can be.

That said, if you want a single referral to a concept as a response to a query as input, then the Entity API seems to be the best way forward for you. As you correctly stated, the suggest method tries to disambiguate what you're trying to search for and suggests entities that might match your search. This is currently available for agents (=people), concepts, and places. I'll leave it to @Hugo to give some more input on this if he'd like to.

I hope this helped! 

Kind Regards


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