Fabian Demicoli

Exploring Europe’s cultural heritage online

 Europeana, Europe's gateway for internet users to search and get direct access to digitised books, maps, paintings, newspapers, photographs, film fragments and all sorts of audiovisual documents from Europe's cultural institutions, was launched as a prototype in November 2008.

 

The European Commission's initial target was of 10 million works for 2010 but, in fact, it is well above since more than 14 million of these items, along with music clips, are now accessible through www.Europeana.eu.

Digitised photographs, maps, paintings, museum objects and other images make up 64% of the Europeana collection. 34% of the collection is dedicated to digitised texts, including more than 1.2 million complete books that can be viewed online and/or downloaded. The texts cover thousands of rare manuscripts and the earliest books printed before 1501. Video and sound material represent less than 2% of the collections.

All EU Member States have contributed items to Europeana. However, input is still uneven. France is the largest contributor (18% of total items). Germany has increased its share to 17% whilst Malta contributed 0.01%.

To ensure Europeana represents a true cross-section of Europe's cultural heritage, it needs additional quality

material from all Member States.

Next year Europeana intends to experiment with user-generated content and will invite users to contribute material to Europeana around the theme of World War I.

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