Finna.fi to open access to a record-breaking amount of Finnish cultural data

Today, Finna.fi, a service combining material from Finnish archives, libraries and museums, publishes its open application programming interface at api.finna.fi.

Through the API, anyone can access the metadata for almost 9 million entries in the Finna.fi service. At the same time, Finna is launching a new search function with more than 200,000 open-licence images from the Finnish cultural heritage. This represents the largest amount of Finnish cultural data ever made openly available at one time.

Anyone interested in cultural heritage and the images can benefit from Finna’s functions, which allow users to search through the available materials according to their interests. The search can target images such as those available for commercial use or education. The API provides opportunities for the more technologically inclined Finna user, such as application developers, data visualisation professionals and researchers using digital materials.

“Through the API, the metadata on Finna can be used in new, inventive ways. Finna has many images that can be edited and used commercially, and many of them can be easily exported to other applications, from games to learning platforms and genealogy tools. We are eager to see new perspectives on how the materials on Finna can be used,” explains Erkki Tolonen, head of development at Finna.

From toys to religious art

Finna is a result of cooperation between Finnish archives, libraries and museums. Finna.fi combines material from a number of different organisations and includes photographs, works of art, books, magazines, articles, maps, objects, sound recordings, sheet music, video and more.

The list of openly licensed images includes many interesting collections, such as photographs from the Helsinki Olympic Games, a toy collection reflecting the cultural history of childhood, visual material on Finnish saunas and sauna culture, church art, and a great deal of military history images.

The metadata in Finna.fi have been released for open use with the Creative Commons CC0 Universal Public Domain deed. A range of different Creative Commons licences are used for the images. More than 200,000 images are available through the services under open cultural licences, and more than 300,000 images under Creative Commons licences. The amount of both the open metadata and the material itself will increase, as more archives, libraries and museums are constantly joining Finna in addition to the existing organisations, which number more than 100. In the future, it will be possible to also search for other openly licensed material, such as books.

Finna is part of the Ministry of Education and Culture project the National Digital Library. The National Library of Finland maintains and develops Finna in cooperation with its partners.

Finna participates in the Hack4FI – Hack Your Heritage event beginning on 5 February, which hopes to foster completely new ways of using the API and the open materials.

Further information on Finna:
Erkki Tolonen, Head of Development, National Library, tel. 050 576 2869, erkki.tolonen(at)helsinki.fi

Further information about Hack4FI:
Sanna Marttila, Project Manager, Open Knowledge Finland, tel. 040 144 2103, sanna.marttila(at)okf.fi