Cinema Context As Linked Open Data: A Conversion To RDF


Cinema Context as Linked Open Data: A Conversion to RDF. Cinema Context is an online MySQL database containing places, persons and companies involved in more than 100,000 film screenings in the Netherlands since 1895. In 2020, this relational database was converted into Linked Open Data or RDF (Resource Description Framework) and published in a sparql endpoint.

In this paper, we want to report on this conversion process and give some examples of the potential that RDF offers to link to other datasets. Linked Open Data offers opportunities for broadening and renewing historical and cultural research, by allowing more flexible linking to other (linked) data sets than is feasible with the current SQL format. It allows linking data from the database to a range of external information: about buildings, persons, heritage objects and locations. In the Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage communities there is a need to be able to query Cinema Context data in connection with such external data via a sparql endpoint.

The project was a collaboration between the Cinema Context editorial staff, the University of Amsterdam Library, and Islands of Meaning, a one-man company owned by Menno den Engelse, programmer and data maker specialising in RDF. The selection of appropriate vocabularies and thesauri required a close collaboration between data specialists and domain experts. Moreover, the collaboration has functioned as de facto training in working with RDF and the Sparql query language.

Presented at HoMER 2021 during Session 20: Karel Dibbets Panel – Digital Data, Platforms And New Cinema History. See:

Presented at HoMER Conference 2021, May 24-29 June. Online