Europeana: digital paintings, books, films and archives

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 in November 2008 by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

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


Here’s another large collection from across the pond.  Maybe American consortia, libraries, and other entities can take a cue from the Europeans and work together for a huge collaborative project.  I love that the mission statement talks about preserving Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage.  Hopefully other groups will be able to tackle projects of this size and scope.  It would be really refreshing to see a digital collection aiming to preserve India’s scientific heritage, or Brazil’s scientific heritage.  I also love that they are trying to create a plan for sustainability.  So many initiatives fail because they don’t plan for the future of the collection and the business of its upkeep.