January 24, 2022

Getty Research Releases Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) as Linked Open Data (LOD), Over 650,000 Names Included

The Getty Research Institute announced the release of Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) earlier today. This is the third release of LOD from Getty.

From a Blog Post by James Cuno, CEO of The J. Paul Getty Trust:

We’re delighted to announce that the Getty Research Institute has released the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) as Linked Open Data (LOD).

ULAN, along with the other Getty vocabularies, is created and maintained by the Research Institute and used by art researchers all over the world. It is the third set to be released as Linked Open Data and follows the releases of the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) and the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN).

All three vocabularies are now available at vocab.getty.edu, free to download, share, and modify under an Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC BY 1.0).


The Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) is a resource containing more than 650,000 names and biographical information for current and historical artists, architects, patrons, workshops, firms, museums, and other people and groups associated with the creation and history of art, architecture, and other works of cultural heritage. ULAN includes records for identified people, as well as for anonymous “hands.” It also includes links to related people and groups within ULAN, as well as links to places in the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) and to terms in the Getty’s renowned thesaurus of cultural heritage terminology, the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT).


As just one example, take Albrecht Dürer. ULAN includes more than a dozen names for the artist in various languages and in historical documents—Albrecht Dürer, Albrecht Türer, Albertus Durerus, Albrekht ‏Diurer, Alverto Dureño, アルブレヒト デューラー, 阿尔布雷希特·丢勒—allowing information associated with him to be found and associated regardless of which name is used in the original documents. His roles as painter, engraver, woodcutter, and mathematician may be linked to the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, providing multilingual access on these words (engravers, 雕版工,graveurs, grabadores).

The places where he was born, died, and active are linked to the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names, allowing access by variant names (Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Noremberg, Nuremberga), by its context in the broader Bavaria, and geospatial coordinates. The ULAN record for Dürer is linked to the records for his family members and those of his teacher Michael Wolgemut, students such as Hans Baldung and others, and patrons such as the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. In a linked open world, these rich links may be used to weave a tapestry of information and discovery about artists, their works, and the times in which they lived and created.

Getty’s Art & Architecture Thesaurus was released as Linked Open Data during February 2014. The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names was made available as LOD in August 2014.

Read the Complete Blog Post, Join Discussion Group

See Also: Direct to Linked Open Data Homepage

See Also: Introduction to Getty Vocabularies


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.