We’re delighted to announce that the Getty Research Institute has released the [Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)®](http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn/) as Linked Open Data. This represents an important step in the Getty’s ongoing work to make our knowledge resources freely available to all.\n\nFollowing the release of the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)® in February, TGN is now the second of the four Getty vocabularies to be made entirely free to download, share, and modify. Both data sets are available for download at [vocab.getty.edu](http://vocab.getty.edu) under an Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC BY 1.0).\n### What Is TGN?\n\n\nThe Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names is a resource of over 2,000,000 names of current and historical places, including cities, archaeological sites, nations, and physical features. It focuses mainly on places relevant to art, architecture, archaeology, art conservation, and related fields.\n\nTGN is powerful for humanities research because of its linkages to the three other [Getty vocabularies](http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/)—the Union List of Artist Names, the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, and the Cultural Objects Name Authority. Together the vocabularies provide a suite of research resources covering a vast range of places, makers, objects, and artistic concepts. The work of three decades, the Getty vocabularies are living resources that continue to grow and improve.\n\nBecause they serve as standard references for cataloguing, the Getty vocabularies are also the conduits through which data published by museums, archives, libraries, and other cultural institutions can find and connect to each other.\n### Why Linked Open Data?\n\n\nWhen data is linked and open, it is structured and published in ways that allow it to be recombined with data from other sources to create new knowledge. In other words, Linked Open Data connects information from diverse publishers and areas of scholarship, enabling the dramatic expansion and acceleration of research.\n\nWhen the vast trove of data in the Getty vocabularies is released into the Linked Open Data ecosystem, researchers will not only be able to retrieve more complete data, but hone it to their precise requests. In short, they can ask, and answer, ever more complex queries.\n\nWhat artists were working in Venice in the 1520s? When, where, and under whose patronage were Buddhist temples built in India? What museums or libraries currently own folios from a disassembled 14th-century medieval Psalter? What was the iconography of the illuminations in this Psalter? Today these questions are time-consuming and difficult to answer. In the world of Linked Open Data, they could be just a few clicks away.\n### A Rich Data Ecosystem\n\n\nTo show how Linked Open Data from TGN can enhance research, let’s take the single example of [Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, India](http://www.getty.edu/vow/TGNFullDisplay?find=ellora&place=&nation=&prev_page=1&english=Y&subjectid=1075244), a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its astonishing rock-cut architecture. TGN contains not only the caves’ location but also their geographical hierarchy, variant names in multiple languages, and the religious traditions represented there. Now imagine that this data is linked to other data—such as maps, books and articles, and photographs depicting this location. A vast trove of interrelated resources, currently only findable individually through manual search using variant spellings, becomes click away.\n\nWithin the Getty alone, in a future Linked Open Data world multiple resources could be interlinked: a [digitized volume from the early 1800s](http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/digital_collections/notable/hindu_excavations.html) from the special collections of the Getty Research Institute; art historically significant [early photographs of the site](http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/247175/lala-deen-dayal-figures-in-ellora-caves-indian/) by English, French, and Indian photographers in the collection of the Getty Museum; and multiple publications from the Getty Conservation Institute including an [update on conservation efforts](http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/newsletters/9_1/profile1.html).