Europeana - making cultural heritage accessible to all

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

<< back Page 2 of 2

Opening up information resources

This year also marked an important step forward in opening up information resources, as various institutions began to license their data under a Creative Commons Universal Public Dedication, or CC0 licence. What this means in practice is that data relating to millions of digitised texts, images, video and audio files available on Europeana will become increasingly accessible for anybody to re-use for whatever purpose they want. This further reinforces Europeana's new Data Exchange Agreement, an agreement between a content provider and Europeana under which metadata delivered to Europeana would be released under CC0. During the second half of 2012, when the agreement comes into public use, this standardised and interoperable licence will enable real creative re-use of our metadata.

Linked open data and hackathons

We also launched the API and Linked Open Data pilots to encourage the re-use of the data contributed by the cultural heritage institutions. This led to the running of the hackathons - a series of events for developers of apps - that Europeana held in six different countries this year.  Experimenting with creative ideas, 130 participants with diverse backgrounds and expertise across Europe produced 68 innovative prototype apps ranging from mobile apps to apps with social and gaming components.  Praised at the EU Digital Agenda Day in June 2011, these hackathons have demonstrated the immense potential that the re-use of online cultural resources entails for stimulating economic growth.

Europeana collections

In March we also launched our first community collection project in Germany,  "Europeana 1914-1918" that allows anyone to contribute personal memorabilia or stories from the First World War. Already over 25,000 digital files have been contributed and made available on Europeana. The opportunity to participate in recording history for future generations was welcomed by the public. Due to the project's success, we will be extending the initiative into four new countries and running public collection days to which people can bring their family papers and memorabilia from the First World War. The collecting will culminate in a major event hosted by the European Commission in May 2012 in Brussels. There we will launch a competition for the best application to be developed from our data - particularly the 1914-1918 material. The competition will show how our cultural heritage data can support digital development and innovation. As the year draws to an end, we are looking forward to the initiatives we'll be carrying out next year. We hope that 2012 will also see a lot of progress in making cultural heritage more accessible to all.

Jill Cousins is Executive Director of the Europeana Foundation and Director of The European Library. She created both operational services, The European Library and Europeana. She has a strong web publishing background, having worked for VNU as their European Business Development Director and then transferred the lessons learnt from commercial business-to-business publishing to scholarly publishing working for Blackwell Publishing and several other academic publishers in the UK. Prior to a publishing career, she worked in the online environment for many years, first as a researcher with her own company specialising in providing business information to large corporate companies. After selling this company Jill worked as the Marketing Director for Online information. She has been involved in several international publishing industry bodies such as CrossRef and COUNTER.

Aisulu Aldasheva is PR and Editorial Officer at Europeana. She is responsible for maintaining the editorial side of, and the website for heritage professionals that is still work in progress. Aisulu contributes articles for partner and external publications to keep readers up to date with Europeana's developments. She also writes, edits and publishes Europeana's electronic bi-monthly newsletter and maintains Europeana's blog. Her previous experience includes working at international organisations, such as the Asian Development Bank and UNESCO.

Photograph taken at Europeana CCPA Annual General Meeting 2011 from the Europeana Flickr photostream.

<< back Page 2 of 2