1. Deconstructing Freebase
Manuel de la Villa
Department of Information Technologies
University of Huelva Medical-Miner Project
2. Deconstructing Freebase
• What is it
– A net? A tool? A kind of Data? wikipedia-turned-
• The Schema,
– domains, types, properties. Sources.
• How it works
• How can we use it
– MQL, API, Acre, RDF
3. What is it
• Freebase is a large public database that collects three
kinds of information:
– texts; and
– media, that references…
• …entities or topics (≈ 12 million). An entity is a unique
single person, place, or thing.
• A single concept or real-world thing.
• A topic could also be called an entity, resource or element or thing, it
is a fundamental unit in Freebase.
• Each topic has a Guid or globally unique ID
4. What is it (and II)
• Freebase connects entities together as a graph,
– defines its data structure as a set of nodes and a set of
links that establish relationships between the nodes.
• Most of our topics are associated with one or
more types (such as people, places, books,
films, etc) and may have additional properties like "date of
birth" for a person or latitude and longitude for a location.
These types and properties and related concepts are called
5. The Schema
• We use the term Schema to refer to the way Freebase's data is laid out or
structured. In the Semantic web world, this is referred to as Ontology.
• Schema in Freebase is expressed through Types and Properties. Types are
grouped together in Domains.
What is Schema?
Schema describes how data in Freebase is structured.
Schema is made by creating:
Types, which define a particular kind of person, place or thing and contain
Properties, which define the unique qualities of a type.
is a → type → Person
has a → property → Date of Birth
6. The Schema (II)
7. The Schema (II)
8. The Schema (II)
9. The Schema (II)
10. The Schema: Medicine
11. Then… is an Ontology?
• Yes and No,
is a kind of Folksonomy…
12. The sources
• Wikipedia, ChefMoz, NNDB, MusicBrainz…
• The Freebase community, with a 2.0 spirit, are:
• data contributors,
• schema builders,
• data curators,
• application developers,
• and many others who use Freebase
– Expert status
– Augmentative edition
• Creative Commons Attribution Licensing, which means
that it's free for you to browse, query, copy, and even use the data
in your own systems or software, even for commercial use; all we
ask in return is that you mention that
13. How can we use it…
• As a reference or information source
• Create interesting Views and Visualizations and
share them with others
• Embed Freebase data in your website
• Use our API or Acre, our hosted app development
platform, to build apps that use Freebase data
• Download our Data dumps
• Use Freebase's RDF for Semantic Web applications
14. How can we use it…
• Ways to use Freebase:
– Use Freebase's Ids to uniquely identify entities
anywhere on the web
– Query Freebase's data using MQL
– Build applications using our API or Acre, the
hosted development platform
17. Freebase API
Freebase's API allows you:
– to perform searches and queries against
Freebase's data, or
– to write data to Freebase.
– There are Libraries available for many
Searching with Search API
• The search API lets you do a fuzzily-matched
search for a string that occurs in a topic's
name, aliases, or description.
• The mqlread API is for doing structured
queries against Freebase's schema.
• The mqlwrite API lets you write data to
A hosted application
• makes it easy to build and
share Freebase applications.
•It encapsulates many of the
trickier steps (like OAuth
access for writing to
•lets you view other people's
apps, clone them, modify
them, and share your
"Freebase is the bridge between the bottom up vision
of Web 2.0 collective intelligence and the more
structured world of the semantic web." Tim O'Reilly