Join the R Community at ShinyConf 2023

europeanaR Shiny app sprint example - Shiny blog hero

europeanaR: Exploring A Digitized Art Database with Shiny


Art provides insight into the experiences and values of a culture. We see parallels between Shiny and art. Both are canvases for sharing insight. They are used to transform information or ideas in a way that connects with people. In this spirit, our developers built EuropeanaR, a Shiny app for exploring Europe’s digitized collection of art and cultural works.

Exploring the europeanaR package

Sharing data and building narratives at speed is something Shiny does well. This is in part due to a rich and healthy ecosystem of open-source packages available to R developers.

Fellow Appsilonian, Alexandros Kouretesis built the R package, europeanaR, for accessing the data from Europeana’s web portal.

What is Europeana?

Europeana is a cultural preservation and digitization project supported by the European Union. Its purpose is to preserve and raise awareness of European cultural heritage – including art. Europeana has developed a web portal containing a database for artwork throughout Europe. It is this database that we explore from the Shiny application with the europeanaR package.

Explore Appsilon’s R Shiny Demo Gallery. A curated collection of unique Shiny dashboards.

Install europeanaR package

You can install  the development version by running:


# install.packages("devtools")
devtools::install_github("AleKoure/europeanaR")

And be sure to sign up for a free API key from Europeana. Once you’ve signed up, you can input your key by adding:


europeanaR::set_key("YOUR_KEY_GOES_HERE")

europeanaR R package logo to connect Europeana API

EuropeanaR – a Shiny app sprint example

At its core, the Shiny app consists of 3 primary components – a search engine, a map, and an infographic.

The primary goal of the application is to visualize the spread of artworks over Europe. To do this, Appsilon R/Shiny developers Ivan Hrychaniuk and André Veríssimo created a search engine for European artists. They added a map for the spatial component and a pop-up to visualize the artwork associated with a user’s search.

To learn more, check out Europeana(R) creator André, as he guides us through the procedure and a demonstration of the application.

App sprints can be a challenge with distributed teams. Learn how we manage app sprints to develop unique R Shiny apps.