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Digital semantic model

The Museo del Prado’s Knowledge Graph

The Museo del Prado’s Knowledge Graph is a system for representing its overall contents and digital resources that understands data related to authors, artworks, their contents, subjects, periods and styles, as well as any object potentially linked to them. Moreover, it especially understands how this group of entities is interconnected. When we say that it is a system which “understands” we mean that it its development is based on a technical language that allows machines or systems to “understand” and correctly handle the group of entities listed above in order to interface with users when they undertake queries, or seek to recover information and discover knowledge.

Besides its public use, the Museo del Prado’s Knowledge Graph is used to annotate, organize and present the museum’s information in a meaningful way. For example, it expands a work’s data sheet to include all relevant information, regardless of its origin or the team that generated it, as well as that work’s relations with other works belonging to the museum and its maker’s relations to other artists represented in the collection.

The most outstanding and far-reaching result of this digital project has been the consolidation of a very considerable part of the Museum’s contents on a large unified knowledge graph that is expandable, expressive and queriable. This graph constitutes the group of entities that make up the museum’s collection as a central node to which it links all of the other objects of knowledge that comprise the museum’s activity. As we have already seen, this queriable graph allows users to recover those resources associated with any interest or intention, to share and group them, and finally, to create or construct their own museum, or their own view of the Museo del Prado, their own museum narratives, itineraries and visits.

The Museo del Prado’s Knowledge Graph contains 20,000 resources, 310,000 entities and some 2,830,000 relations among those different objects and entities. These are used to expand the meaning of terms employed by users in their searches, to offer them a system for exploring the collection—and more generally, all of the museum’s resources—via a faceted search engine that is actually only one of several utilities that facilitate all modes of navigating around this group of entities.

Linked Data

The Museo del Prado’s Knowledge Graph has been constructed using semantic web standards based on the Linked Data Web principles that designate a structured method of data publishing. In practice, that is what makes it possible to navigate via hyper-data. To publish in accordance with Linked Data Web principles, it is necessary to follow certain standards, including HTTP, OWL/RDF and URIs, which are used not so much to serve pages read by persons as to edit pages that can automatically interpret systems and thus share information with them. This allows the connection of data from different Museum sources in a unified and queriable graph of the sort now employed by the Museo del Prado.

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