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[edit]

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 ( 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

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 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[edit]

To improve this non-reusability, over the last year we have

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[edit]

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.

KB collection highlights project meme English

Overviews of all highlights (Part 2)[edit]

Overviews per highlight (Part 3)[edit]

Images (Part 4)[edit]

This creates new search options and makes the images descriptions multilingual and searchable by content (What is depicted in the image?).

Reuse (Part 5)[edit]

Do you want to help improving KB's collection highlights?[edit]

Tutorial - How to tag KB images on Commons with Wikidata Q-items

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.
  • 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[edit]

This article was written by Olaf Janssen, Wikimedia and open data coordinator of the KB, National Library of the Netherlands.

It is a translation of this Dutch blog post on the website of Wikimedia Netherlands.

Last update: 24 August 2021