Europeana – the European digital library, museum and archive – is a 2-year project that began in July 2007. It will produce a prototype website giving users direct access to some 2 million digital objects, including film material, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers. The prototype will be launched by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.
I recommend highly the introductory video that runs on the site announcing Europeana’s beta test site. The video is the source for all of the images posted with this story.
The digital content for Europeana is be selected from that which is already digitised and available in Europe’s museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. The prototype aims to have representative content from all four of these cultural heritage domains, and also to have a broad range of content from across Europe. Learn more >
The interface will be multilingual. Initially, this may mean that it is available in French, English and German, but the intention is to develop the number of languages available following the launch.
The development route, site architecture and technical specifications are all published as deliverable outcomes of the project. After the launch of the Europeana prototype, the project’s final task is to recommend a business model that will ensure the sustainability of the website. It will also report on the further research and implementation needed to make Europe’s cultural heritage fully interoperable and accessible through a truly multilingual service. The intention is that by 2010 the Europeana portal will give everybody direct access to well over 6 million digital sounds, pictures, books, archival records and films.
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 90 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 and developing the specifications for the prototype.