Linked Open Data at SAAM

About the Project

Since 1829, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has maintained a diverse collection of American artworks, keeping authoritative records about these objects and the artists who created them. In 2014, we began to publish this information as Linked Open Data (LOD). Our online collection now connects to a growing body of related data published by organizations worldwide, fostering new opportunities for discovery, research, and collaboration.

By sharing our collections metadata as machine-readable linked data, under an open license, we hope to make our artworks more findable and promote creative re-use of our data in search and other applications. Please note that only the metadata falls under this open license; images are not included and their use is subject to the Licensing and Usage Guidelines below.

The American Art Museum has made use of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC-CRM) to map out the concepts and relationships that exist within our collection. With the use of the W3C open data standard, RDF and SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language (SPARQL), linked open data gives researchers and developers outside the museum the ability to develop alternative applications, devices, and interfaces.

The museum would like to thank the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI) and the Smithsonian Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for their generous help and support throughout this project.

How to Connect

Artist Data

Connect to our artist data using this URI schema:


Find an individual artist ID in the online collections search. The ID of an artist can be found in both the URL and in the “Linked Open Data URI“ listed at the bottom of each page. 

Artwork Data

Connect to our artwork data using this URI schema:


Find the artwork "object_number" in the online collections search. The object number of an artwork can be found in both the tombstone information and in the "Linked Open Data URI" listed at the bottom of the page.

Sparql Endpoint

Connect your application to our SPARQL endpoint:

For more information on our Linked Open Data schema, visit the American Art LOD Wiki on GitHub.

Licensing and Usage Guidelines

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has licensed the use of our collections metadata under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). This license allows for re-use of the metadata without legal restriction. Please be aware that the content to which the metadata links is not covered by the CC0 license. While the Smithsonian American Art Museum provides hyperlinks as a means of referencing underlying image or multimedia content associated with the metadata, this content itself is not part of the metadata being released and is not necessarily covered by the CC0 license.

If you wish to use the underlying content for anything other than personal or non-commercial usage, please contact Rights and Reproductions staff.

The availability of a link to a digital resource does not imply or convey permission to download, distribute, or use that file in any way that would be incompatible with the Terms of Use of the Smithsonian Institution.

Additional guidelines:

  • Give proper attribution by including the statement “Data Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum” and by providing the URI for the object being referenced.
  • Do not mislead others, or misrepresent the metadata or its sources.
  • Understand that data is used at your own risk.

Questions? Contact Us