Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Europeana Relaunched Again : The European Union Digital Cultural Resource Project Appears in Improved From with over 4 Million Digital Items

We were informed by email today that Europeana, the digital cultural resource project of the European Union, currently presenting access to over 4 million digital items at museums and libraries throughout the EU, has relaunched again after a problematic start in November.

Europeana explains what it is about, and provides to us a list of the partner organizations that make materials available to Europeana.

That same "about us" page provides us with an overview of Europeana as follows:

"The [European] Commission has been working for a number of years on projects to boost the digital economy. These prepared the ground for an online service that would bring together Europe's cultural heritage.

The idea for Europeana came from a letter to the Presidency of Council and to the Commission on 28 April 2005. Six Heads of State and Government suggested the creation of a virtual European library, aiming to make Europe's cultural and scientific resources accessible for all.

On 30 September 2005 the European Commission published the i2010: communication on digital libraries, where it announced its strategy to promote and support the creation of a European digital library, as a strategic goal within the European Information Society i2010 Initiative, which aims to foster growth and jobs in the information society and media industries. The European Commission's goal for Europeana is to make European information resources easier to use in an online environment. It will build on Europe's rich heritage, combining multicultural and multilingual environments with technological advances and new business models.

The Europeana prototype is the result of a 2-year project that began in July 2007. Europeana.eu went live on 20 November 2008, launched by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

Europeana is a Thematic Network funded by the European Commission under the eContentplus programme, as part of the i2010 policy. Originally known as the European digital library network – EDLnet – it is a partnership of 100 representatives of heritage and knowledge organisations and IT experts from throughout Europe. They contribute to the Work Packages that are solving the technical and usability issues.

The project is run by a core team based in the national library of the Netherlands, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. It builds on the project management and technical expertise developed by The European Library, which is a service of the Conference of European National Librarians.

Overseeing the project is the EDL Foundation, which includes key European cultural heritage associations from the four domains. The Foundation’s statutes commit members to:

  • Providing access to Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage though a cross-domain portal
  • Co-operating in the delivery and sustainability of the joint portal
  • Stimulating initiatives to bring together existing digital content
  • Supporting digitisation of Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage"

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