Getting Started with the Europeana REST API

In this section you'll find everything you need to know to immediately start using Europeana API.


Every Europeana Search API call is an HTTP request in a specified format that is sent to the Europeana API service. The API root URL is located at:

For obligatory request parameters look into the documentation of specific calls. The authentication section provides information on the obligatory authentication parameter wskey.


Search and retrieve records

record.jsonRetrieve information about a single record within the Europeana repository
search.jsonFind records within the Europeana repository
suggestions.jsonProvides suggestions aimed at applications that use autocompletion for search queries
opensearch.rssFind objects within the Europeana repository following the OpenSearch specification

MyEuropeana Actions

profile.jsonRetrieve user profile information
saveditem.jsonManage favourite records
tag.jsonManage tags
savedsearch.jsonManage saved searches

Data Providers and Datasets

providers.jsonRetrieve information about Europeana data providers
datasets.jsonRetrieve information about datasets supplied by a specific data provider


A response to an API call will always contain a number of standard fields that precede the fields specific for the call. The standard part contains the following fields:

apikeyStringthe authentication parameter sent out by the client (the wskey parameter)
actionStringthe name of the API method that was called
successBooleana boolean (true/false) flag denoting the successful execution of the call
statsDurationNumberthe time (in milliseconds) taken to serve the request
requestNumberNumbera positive number denoting the number of request by this API key within the last 24 hours
errorStringif the call was not successful this fields will contain a detailed text message. See Error Codes for more information.
paramsObjectoriginal request parameters. If an invalid request parameter was submitted, this response parameter will contain the default value (see individual calls for the default values). Shown up only if the profile parameter contains "params".


Europeana API uses the following datatypes:

Numberinteger or double precision floating-point number
Stringdouble-quoted Unicode, with backslash escaping
Booleantrue or false
Arrayan ordered sequence of values, comma-separated and enclosed in square brackets; the values do not need to be of the same type
Array([Datatype])an ordered sequence values of Datatype (e.g. String or Object), comma-separated and enclosed in square brackets
Objectan unordered collection of key:value pairs with the ':' character separating the key and the value, comma-separated and enclosed in curly braces; the keys must be strings and should be distinct from each other

A special data type we use in the API Object Call, to provide values in various languages. It is an associative array where the keys are ISO language codes or "def" (where the language is not given), and the value is an array of strings. For example: "dcTitle": {"por": ["Paris"]}. Here the data type of dcTitle is a LanguageMap: the language code is "por" (stands for Portuguese), and the value is a list with only one element: "Paris". For those familiar with Java notations: is it the JSON equivalent of Map<String,List<String>>

nullempty value

Error Codes

An error during processing of an API method is reported by (1) a relevant HTTP status code, (2) a value of the success field and (3) a meaningful error message in the error field (see the Response section).

The following HTTP status codes are returned:

HTTP Status CodeDescription
200The request was executed successfully.
401Authentication credentials were missing or authentication failed.
404The requested record was not found.
429The request could be served because the application has reached its usage limit.
500Internal Server Error. Something has gone wrong, tell us!


In the documentation we sometime refer to namespace prefixes, such as dc, skos, edm. Here we list all the namespace prefixes and URIs.

prefixNamespace URIMore info
dc Core
dcterms Core Mmetadata Initiative (DCMI) Metadata Terms
edm Data Model
foaf (Friend of a Friend) Vocabulary
ore Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange
owl Web Ontology Language
rdaGr2 Group 2 elements.
rdf Description Framework
skos Knowledge Organization System
wgs84 Geo Positioning

Callback Function

Name of a client side (JavaScript) callback function. If you set a funtion the JSON response will be wrapped by this function call, so it is not JSON, but JSONP (JSON with Padding). JSONP provides a method to request data from a server in a different domain, something prohibited by typical web browsers because of the same origin policy.

"Under the same origin policy, a web page served from cannot normally connect to or communicate with a server other than An exception is the HTML script element. Exploiting the open policy for script elements, some pages use them to retrieve JavaScript code that operates on dynamically generated JSON-formatted data from other origins. This usage pattern is known as JSONP. Requests for JSONP retrieve not JSON, but arbitrary JavaScript code. They are evaluated by the JavaScript interpreter, not parsed by a JSON parser." (Wikipedia: JSONP)

A callback can be added to any JSON-based call by appending &callback=callbackname to the call, where the callbackname should be an existing JavaScript function existing on the client side. The API returns JSONP response, like this one:

/api/v2/record/[record ID].json?wskey=xxxx&profile=similar&callback=processEuropeanaSearch


"title":["Bibliotheca Indica"],
"about":"[record ID]",

The JSON response is wrapped into your function, and the function use JSON as input parameter, and it immediatelly runs when it returns. In your client you have to define the callback function before you call the API. A client side example:

function processEuropeanaSearch(json){
alert(json.object.title.join(', '));
<script src=""></script>

Of course in this example we haven't done any rocket science with the returned Europeana record, it is your turn to do something fascinating!