Frequently asked questions about the Dataset Register by developers who want to find datasets

How can I search the Dataset Register?

The Dataset Register provides access to dataset descriptions of heritage institutions. A frequent crawl retrieves the dataset descriptions in or DCAT, transforms them into DCAT, and stores them in a public triplestore. This triplestore - based on GraphDB - has a web gui that can be reached via

Is there an API on the Dataset Register?

Yes, even two. One is aimed at the heritage institutions (and their IT suppliers) and mainly concerns the validation and registration of dataset descriptions.

The second API is aimed at developers who want to find datasets: the SPARQL endpoint

What kind of data can I find in the Dataset Register?

The Dataset register does not contain datasets, but it does contain dataset descriptions and these contain references to (distributions of) data. These can be files/data dumps (eg compressed XML, CSV, NT files) or APIs (eg OAI-PMH, SPARQL, SRU). When a dataset description is retrieved and validated from source, it is stored in its own graph based on dcat:Dataset. The URL of the graph corresponds to the IRI of the dataset. Dataset descriptions provided from - as advised in the Requirements for Datasets - are converted to DCAT. You'll find more information on this topic on the datamodel page.

The image below indicates the layering of dataset descriptions:

Are there examples of SPARQL queries?

Simple examples of search queries can be found on the Search page. This is essentially a SPARQL generator that creates a SPARQL query based on your query and fires it at the triplestore. You will also find a link to open the generated SPARQL query in the triplestore web gui.

Another way to get a feel for the possibilities is the Data Story. Only available in Dutch, but via the blue arrow above the result tables you conjure up the SPARQL query with which the data for the table below is obtained. Modify the query and you will immediately see the result!

What am I allowed to do with the data from the Dataset Register?

The use of the SPARQL endpoint is open to everyone, without any barriers. The dataset descriptions themselves are made available by heritage institutions under an open license. You can find this in the mandatory property schema:license. The distributions within a dataset (ie the actual data) may be subject to a more restrictive license.

Who creates and manages the Dataset Register?

The Dataset Register was created by the collaborating heritage institutions in the Network Digital Heritage and is managed and maintained by the National Archives. The National Archives is responsible for the operation and availability of the Dataset Register.

Can I already use the Dataset Register?

Yes, of course! The Dataset Register is still being developed and filled in even further, but can already be used. We'd love to hear what you think. For example: are the search options sufficient? Is the API usable?

Are you getting started?

If you are going to start publishing dataset descriptions and the API on the Dataset Register, let us know so that we can keep you informed of developments, updates and availability.

Do you want to know more?

If you have any questions and/or comments about the functioning of the Dataset Register, please contact