GLAM/Case studies/New functionalities for the collection highlights of the National Library of the Netherlands
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50 cool new things you can now do with KB's collection highlights - New functionalities for the collections of the National Library of the Netherlands
Last year the KB, national library of the Netherlands, put its collection highlights into Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia. This has made this often historical cultural heritage more visible, findable and reusable. As a result, many things that previously were not possible on the KB's own website have now become possible via the Wikimedia platforms. In other words: by Wikifying this collection, all kinds of new functionalities have been added to our highlights. In this article I would like to give a brief impression of these new cool things.
The KB, National library of the Netherlands, makes its digital collection highlights available via the KB website (kb.nl). If we take the city atlas by Frederik De Wit from 1698 as an example, you can read background information about this atlas and view its high-resolution images in an image viewer. You can also consult an index of places (see bottom of the page) that are depicted in the atlas. All in all, it is pretty easy to consume this atlas on kb.nl.
But what if you want to download those images, request that place name index as structured data (json, csv, xml) or want to visualize those places on a map? Then you are in for a rude awakening, because the collection highlights on kb.nl are not very suitable if you want to reuse them, ie. if you want to create or build something with/from them.
Wikifying KB's collection highlights
To improve this non-reusability, over the last year we have
- described all KB collection highlights in Wikidata,
- put more than 11.000 images of our public domain highlights on Wikimedia Commons and
- listed the existing and desired articles related to our highlights on Dutch Wikipedia.
By doing this, we have created a KB Collection Highlights Technical LEGO box, consisting of separate building blocks that everyone - both inside and outside the Wikimedia community - can use to get to work with our highlights.
I explain the how & why of this 'Wikification' of our highlights and the LEGO box analogy in more detail in the first article of the five-part series 50 cool new things you can now do with KB's collection highlights' that I published on Github earlier this year (and from which this case study is derived).
New functionalities for our highlights
I would like to give some examples of those new, cool things that you can now do with our collection highlights, and which the KB website does not offer.
I'll use the same order as in the article series. For the full explanation and additional examples, I refer to the individual articles themselves.
- A quick visual impression of all highlights together
- A sortable overview table of all highlights
- An overview of the individuals and institutions related to the objects and the roles they played
- Overviews of locations and dates, physical characteristics and sources about the collection highlights
- Miniatures and/or cutouts of single page details of selected public domain highlights
- A facebook of the contributors to Jacob Heyblocq's album amicorum, including visualizations of their gender distribution, occupations and lifespans.
- The place-name index of the city atlas Frederik de Wit as mentioned above, plotted on a map of the present-day Netherlands, Belgium and northern France
- Download images in various resolutions, e.g. for an image of the Iberian Peninsula from Atlas van de Hagen
- Selected images (like this example) have been enriched with geographic coordinates, connecting them to various cartographic services
- Over 5,600 highlight images have been enriched with structured, machine-readable data, connecting them to Wikidata.
- This creates new search options and makes the images descriptions multilingual and searchable by content (What is depicted in the image?).
- Ready-to-use tools to bulk download the URLs of hi-res images (Wiki Loves Downloads) and/or the hi-res images themselves (Imker).
- Request structured lists of all collection highlights using SPARQL, both simple and more extensive, also in JSON or XML.
- Request structured descriptions of (for example) Haags Liederhandschrift via Wikidata in 7 different formats: HTML, JSON, JSON-LD, RDF, NT, TTL or N3 and PHP.
- Create HTML face books of contributors to the album amicorum of Jacob Heyblocq in multiple ways, as explained in this article.
- Get the Iberian Peninsula image page as mentioned above as XML
Do you want to help improving KB's collection highlights?
Would you like to help improve the articles, images and data of our highlights on Wikipedia, Commons and Wikidata? You are most welcome! For instance, you can:
- Improve or create Wikipedia articles about the collection highlights - as well as their makers, publishers, printers, illustrators, owners, collectors, locations, methods of manufacture, physical aspects etc. Not only in Dutch, but also articles on the English, Spanish, German and French Wikipedias will be useful.
- Include images of KB highlights in these articles. You can choose from over 11,000 public domain images in the Category:Collection highlights of Koninklijke Bibliotheek.
- Indicate / tag what can be seen (what is depicted) on these images. To get started, you can consult this tutorial. For example, some 5,900 KB images have already been made searchable by content by adding Wikidata Q-numbers, e.g. depicting bridges, trees or fish.
- Improve the Wikidata items about KB's collection highlights - as well as their makers, publishers, printers, illustrators, owners, collectors, locations, methods of manufacture, physical aspects etc. See this table for the Wikidata Q-numbers of KB's collection highlights.
- Build something yourself with the KB Collection Highlights LEGO box. In Part 5, Reuse you can find starting points and examples of how to request data, images and texts by machine.
About this article
This article was written by Olaf Janssen, Wikimedia and open data coordinator of the KB, National Library of the Netherlands.
Last update: 24 August 2021