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British Museum object catalog

The British Museum was the first national public museum in the world - founded in 1753 - and remains one of the most famous museums in the World. Its collections contain over 8 million objects spanning the history of the world's cultures: from carvings of reindeer from 13,0000BC to cardboard models of computer monitors from Singapore.

The museum holds over 3 million individual objects in its collection, around 2 million of which are represented within this database. 800,000+ have images - but these are provided under different licenses depending on use.

There is a web interface to search the collection to get a feel for the content of the data. The collection database also returns HTML representations - for example http://collection.britishmuseum.org/resource?uri=http://collection.britishmuseum.org/id/object/EOC3130 is the entry for Hoa Hakananai'a, a Rapanui (Easter Island) statue.

Technical Details

The data is modelled using the CIDOC schema in an RDF format, and there is a SPARQL endpoint available. This is a REST interfaces, which can provide both JSON and CSV files; there are some pre-defined example queries you can use, a longer example at http://tinyurl.com/ntwm7d6, and a full exemplar AngularJS front end at http://collection.britishmuseum.org/angularsparqldemo/ with the Angular and Django source available at stash.researchspace.org/scm/an/angularsparqldemo.git.

As per the help page, the SPARQL endpoint can be called to return XML or JSON representations from SELECT queries, and RDF/XML, Turtle and NTriple from CONSTRUCT queries.

http://collection.britishmuseum.org/sparql.xml?query= returns xml (in the browser this is a downloadable file)

http://collection.britishmuseum.org/sparql.json?query= returns json

The help page also details the URI scheme. Static data dumps are available.

Dataset Size

More than 2 million+ object records. Around 800,000 have images.

Licensing

Non-commercial and research use only under a British Museum specific open license. Images are under a different license.

Contact information

Queries about the database, e-mail collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org Issues to Web@britishmuseum.org

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