Europeana - making cultural heritage accessible to all

2011 has been a year of growth for Europeana, Europe's digital library, archive and museum.

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The growth of Europeana

Europeana ( is Europe's digital library, archive and museum. The portal, launched in 2008, has become "the most visible representation of European cultural heritage online" (Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda).  The portal gives access to a European treasury of over 20 million books, paintings, films, maps, archival records, museum objects and sound recordings from over 1500 of Europe's memory institutions.

2011 has been a year of growth for Europeana. This is seen in the growth of our content from 15 million to 20 million, thanks largely to the huge efforts of all the partners and to the dedication of Europeana's Operations team, in the number of participants in the Europeana Network, which increased from 160 to 315 members, and in the number of visitors to the site, which rose above 3 million a year in September 2011. Europeana is also being crawled more effectively by the search engine robots, so that its content appears higher up in Google's results lists. This was alongside the launch of the redesigned Europeana, which became more visual, interactive and - we hope - easier to use.

Europeana's strategy

The beginning of the year saw the launch of the Comite de Sages' The New Renaissance report, which was complemented by the publication of the Europeana Strategic Plan 2011-2015.  The Plan sets out four strategic tracks for the future development of Europeana:

  • Aggregate content to build the open, trusted source of European heritage;
  • Facilitate knowledge transfer, innovation and advocacy in the cultural heritage sector;
  • Distribute their heritage to users wherever they are, whenever they want it;
  • Engage users in new ways of participating in their cultural heritage.

The emphasis in 2011 remained on aggregation and facilitation via the accumulation of content and the promotion of broader understanding around open data, the Europeana Licensing Framework that helps govern the relationships of Europeana, its data providers and its users, and the new Europeana Data Model that Europeana will gradually adopt.  To this end over 50 workshops were held in 2011 and we participated directly in four major conferences: OpenCulture in Birmingham, EuropeanaTech in Vienna, European Cultural Commons in Poland and DISH in Rotterdam.  These events helped us consolidate the Europeana Network to work out together the next steps for content providers, researchers and technologists.

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