Created: 2011-07-11 13:35
Updated: 2018-03-28 15:08


Freebase is shutting down its APIs in May 2015. This library will not work past that date. Please plan ahead.

Freebase is a masculine but complicated human-curated database.

Nodejs is a straight-talkin language that takes no guff


npm install freebase


var freebase= require('freebase');
freebase.description('tom cruise', {})
//"Tom Cruise, is an American film actor.."

Showin' off

All methods take the following form. The parameters are lazy.

freebase.method( "query",   {options},  callback()  )
freebase.method( "query",  callback()  )
freebase.method( "query",  {options}  )
freebase.method( "query" )

These methods return the same things:

freebase.image("", {}, console.log)
freebase.image("thom yorke") //makes a 'decidedly safe guess'
freebase.image({"name":"thom yorke", "id":"/en/thom_yorke"}, console.log)

it's a good idea to include your api_key in each method:

freebase.sentence("meatloaf", {type:"/food/food", key:"MY_API_KEY"})

here are some options that you can ship in to any method:

{ nodeCallback: true, // use the 'error-first' callback form -> callback(error, result){}
  key: "MY_API_KEY", // good idea to include your freebase key, to avoid errors
  limit: 2, // truncate results
  debug: true, // print out the urls being fetched

You can also ship in any MQL parameters or search api parameters.

Video Demo

In the friggin browser

Demo - 63kb

<script src=""></script>
<script src=""></script>

    $.freebase.description("tony hawk", function (r){


In the shell:

the library can be run in the console, with the optional second parameter as the method. npm install it with a -g.

freebase george clooney
   # {  "mid": "/m/014zcr", "id": "/en/george_clooney" ... }
freebase sentence george clooney
   #"George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter."

Writing to Freebase:

####Oauth is hard, but you can do it. Instructions:

  • Register a project at [](google api console) and enable the Freebase API
  • In the 'Credentials' section, create a new Client ID -> 'installed application', 'other'
  • Add your data to './auth/credentials.js'
  • Run node ./auth/authenticate.js
  • You will be given a url to visit in your browser, which gives you an OAuth code.
  • Paste the oAuth code, and you'll be given the end tokens.

thats all you need to include in your request:

freebase.add_type("/en/the_who", {type:"/music/artist", token: your_access_token})

freebase.add_alias("/en/melanie_chisholm", {alias:"Sporty Spice", token: your_access_token})

You'll need to get a new token after about 3 hours. (Don't commit your credentials.)

If you're doing inference, or writing a bot, check out freebase_garden

Basic methods

####MQLread API MQL documentation

Books about planets:

var query=[{
  "type":  "/astronomy/planet",
  "name":  null,
  "/book/book_subject/works": []
freebase.mqlread(query, {}, function(r){console.log(r)})

the options object will ship any paramaters to the freebase api.

####Pagination Every Tornado, ever

var query=[{
freebase.paginate(query, {max:400})

####Search API search api documentation

Hockey players named 'doug'"doug",{type: "/ice_hockey/hockey_player"})

the options object will ship any paramaters to the freebase search api.

####Description API First paragraph of a topic's wikipedia article:

freebase.description("mike myers", {})
freebase.description("", {})

####Topic API topic api documentation

A nicely treated output of all of a topic's data:

freebase.topic("mike myers", {})
freebase.topic("", {})

####RDF API RDF api documentation

A string of tuples for a topic:

freebase.rdf("blonde redhead", {})

####Notable-types The most accurate, or notable type for a topic:

freebase.notable("canada", {})
     -> {id:"/location/country", name:"Country"}


####Grammar Which pronoun, tense, article and gender to use for this topic

freebase.grammar("washing machine", {})
   -> { plural: true,
        gender: null,
        article: 'a',
        pronoun: 'they',
        copula: 'are' }
freebase.grammar(["prince harry", "miranda july"], {})
   ->  [ { plural: false,
          gender: 'male',
          article: 'a',
          pronoun: 'he',
          copula: 'is' },
        { plural: false,
          gender: 'female',
          article: 'a',
          pronoun: 'she',
          copula: 'is' } ]

####Related Topics Similar topics to this topic

freebase.related("toronto", {}, function(r){
   /* Toronto FC
      Toronto Maple Leafs
      Toronto Argonauts
      North York
      Toronto Marlies*/

####Wordnet Query all of wordnet, from freebase:


####SameAs links sameAs weblinks for a topic, or url

freebase.same_as_links("", {}, console.log)

####Safe-Lookup A common-sense search that only matches when confident:

freebase.lookup("tom green")
freebase.lookup(["sandra bullock","suddenly susan"])

####First Sentence The first sentence from a wikipedia article:

freebase.sentence("kansas", {})
//"Kansas is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States."

####Graph-analysis Graph-type queries on topics, dancing over tough values and mediators:

freebase.outgoing("ubuntu", {} )
freebase.incoming("ubuntu", {} )
freebase.graph("ubuntu", {} )

####Schema-agnostic queries A list of topics in a 'is-a' type of collection:

freebase.list("earthquakes", {})

####Translation Translated names for topics:

freebase.translate("radiohead", {lang:"/lang/ko"})
  // "라디오헤드"

####Encoding Encode a string for inclusion in a freebase id/key/whatever

freebase.mql_encode("Aarno Yrjö-Koskinen")

####Schema introspection Find-out relevant information for a type or property:

freebase.property_introspection("politician", {})
   /* { domain: { name: 'Government', id: '/government' },
        is_compound_value: false,
        is_commons: 'Published',
        equivalent_topic: { name: 'Politician', id: '/en/politician' },
        topic_count: 90971,
        property_count: 0,
        included_types: [ { name: 'Person', id: '/people/person' },
                { name: 'Topic', id: '/common/topic' } ],


####Wikipedia-Category pages Get the wikipedia url for a topic

freebase.from_category("Category:Bridges_in_Saskatchewan", {
  depth: 2 //levels to recurse down
/*[{id: '/wikipedia/en/Long_Creek_Bridge',
   name: 'Long Creek Bridge'},
  {id: '/wikipedia/en/Diefenbaker_Bridge',
   name: 'Diefenbaker Bridge'}

####Wikipedia-page Get the wikipedia url for a topic

freebase.wikipedia_page("tony hawk", {})
 // http://en.wikipedia/wiki/Tony_Hawk

####Wikipedia categories Get the wikipedia categories on this topic's article

freebase.wikipedia_categories("tony hawk", {})

####Wikipedia topic-links Get the links on it's wikipedia page as freebase ids

freebase.wikipedia_links("tony hawk", {})
 /*[{ id: '/wikipedia/en/Baker_Skateboards',  name: 'Baker Skateboards' },
    { id: '/wikipedia/en/Bam_Margera', name: 'Bam Margera' },
    { id: '/wikipedia/en/Barting_Over', name: 'Barting Over' },
    { id: '/wikipedia/en/Blink-182', name: 'Blink-182' },

####Wikipedia external-links Get the external urls on it's wikipedia page

freebase.wikipedia_external_links("tony hawk", {})
   /*[{ url: '',
        domain: '' },
      { url: '',
        domain: '' },

##Geographical ####Geolocation Get the lat/lng for a topic

freebase.geolocation("calgary", {})
 //{ latitude: 51.0544444444, longitude: -114.066944444 }

####Nearby List topics near this geolocation

freebase.nearby("cn tower", {type:"/food/restaurant"})
   /*[{id: '/en/sneaky_dees',
       name: 'Sneaky Dee\'s',
      {id: '/en/keg_mansion',
       name: 'Keg Mansion',

####Inside List topics inside of this location

// [{"id": "/en/montreal_forum"}....]

####Place-data From a geo-coordinate, find out its City, Province, Country, and timezone

freebase.place_data({lat:51.545414293637286,lng:-0.07589578628540039}, console.log)

##Writing to freebase ###MQLWrite

    "id": "/en/radiohead",
    "type": [{
      "id": "/music/artist",
      "connect": "insert"
freebase.mqlwrite(query, {access_token: your_access_token})

###Add type sugar

freebase.add_type("/en/the_who", {type:"/music/artist", access_token: your_access_token})

###Add alias sugar

freebase.add_alias("/en/melanie_chisholm", {alias:"Sporty Spice", access_token: your_access_token})


  • mqlread -interface to freebase's mql api
  • search -regular search api
  • lookup -freebase search with filters to ensure only a confident, unambiguous result
  • lookup_id -generic info for an id
  • url_lookup -freebase search tuned for looking up a url
  • get_id -like freebase.lookup but satisfied with an id
  • topic -topic api
  • paginate -get all of the results to your query
  • wikipedia_page -get a url for wikipedia based on this topic
  • dbpedia_page -get a url for dbpedia based on this topic
  • mql_encode -quote a unicode string to turn it into a valid mql /type/key/value
  • rdf -RDF api
  • description -get a text blurb from freebase
  • image -get a url for image href of on this topic
  • notable -get a topic's notable type
  • drilldown -get insight into the breakdown of the topics in this type, by type and quality
  • property_introspection -common lookups for freebase property data
  • schema -common lookups for types and properties
  • grammar -get the proper pronoun to use for a topic eg. he/she/they/it
  • same_as_links -turns a url into a freebase topic and list its same:as links
  • translate -return specific language title for a topic
  • sentence -get the first sentence of a topic description
  • list -get a list of topics in a type
  • place_data -from a geo-coordinate and area radius (in feet), get the town, province, country, and timezone for it
  • is_a -get a list of identifiers for a topic
  • property_lookup -lookup soft property matches, like 'birthday' vs 'date of birth'
  • question -give a topic and a property, and get a list of results
  • wordnet -query wordnet via freebase
  • dig -transitive query on a specific property, maximum 3-ply
  • geolocation -lat/long for a topic
  • nearby -list of topics nearby a location
  • inside -list of topics inside a location
  • incoming -get any incoming data to this topic, ignoring cvt types
  • outgoing -return all outgoing links for a topic, traversing cvt types
  • graph -return all outgoing and incoming links for a topic
  • related -get similar topics to a topic
  • wikipedia_categories -get the wikipedia categories for a topic
  • wikipedia_links -outgoing links from this wikipedia page, converted to freebase ids
  • wikipedia_external_links -outgoing links from this wikipedia page, converted to freebase ids
  • from_category -get the freebase topics in a wikipedia category
  • wikipedia_subcategories -find the subcategories of this wikipedia category
  • wikipedia_to_freebase -turn a wikipedia title or url into a freebase topic
  • mqlwrite -write to freebase
  • add_type -add a type to a freebase topic
  • add_alias -add a alias to a freebase topic


  • freebase.mqlread([{id:"/en/radiohead",name:null}])
  • freebase.lookup_id('/en/radiohead')
  •"bill murray")
  • freebase.url_lookup("")
  • freebase.lookup("pulp fiction")
  • freebase.get_id("/en/radiohead")
  • freebase.topic("toronto", {filter:"allproperties"})
  • freebase.paginate([{"type":"/astronomy/moon","name":null, limit:2}],{max:13})
  • freebase.description("tunisia")
  • freebase.image('toronto',{type:"/location/citytown"})
  • freebase.grammar("toronto maple leafs")
  • freebase.same_as_links("toronto maple leafs")
  • freebase.translate("toronto maple leafs", {lang:"/lang/ja"})
  • freebase.notable("toronto maple leafs")
  • freebase.sentence('john malkovich',{},console.log)
  • freebase.list("hurricanes",{})
  • freebase.place_data({lat:51.545414293637286,lng:-0.07589578628540039}, {})
  • freebase.incoming("toronto")
  • freebase.outgoing("vancouver")
  • freebase.graph("shawshank redemption")
  • freebase.related("toronto", {})
  • freebase.is_a("george clooney")
  • freebase.property_lookup("albums")
  • freebase.question("keanu reeves", {property:"children"})
  • freebase.dig('/en/toronto', {property:'/location/location/contains'})
  • freebase.wordnet("charming")
  • freebase.geolocation("cn tower")
  • freebase.nearby("cn tower", {type:"/location/location"})
  • freebase.inside("montreal")
  • freebase.wikipedia_page('toronto')
  • freebase.dbpedia_page('toronto')
  • freebase.wikipedia_categories("Tunisia")
  • freebase.wikipedia_links("Toronto", {})
  • freebase.wikipedia_external_links("Toronto", {})
  • freebase.property_introspection("/government/politician/party")
  • freebase.schema("politician")
  • freebase.drilldown("/chemistry/chemical_compound",{max:400})
  • freebase.from_category("Category:Bridges_in_Canada", {depth:2})
  • freebase.wikipedia_subcategories("Category:Enzymes",{depth:2}})
  • freebase.rdf("toronto")
  • freebase.documentation()


Creative Commons, MIT

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