Europeana enables people to explore the digital resources of Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. It promotes discovery and networking opportunities in a multilingual space where users can engage, share in and be inspired by the rich diversity of Europe's cultural and scientific heritage.
Ideas and inspiration can be found within the nearly 20 million items on Europeana. These objects include:
- Images - paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects
- Texts - books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
- Sounds - music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
- Videos - films, newsreels and TV broadcasts
Some items and topics are world famous, like Isaac Newton's book about the Laws of Motion, the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Vermeer's painting of the Girl With A Pearl Earring or objects about the Berlin Wall. Others are hidden treasures, waiting for you to discover them
Around 1500 institutions have contributed to Europeana. Renowned names such as the British Library in London, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Louvre in Paris are featured alongside smaller organisations across Europe. Together, their assembled collections allow you to explore Europe's history from ancient times to the modern day.
Europeana always connects you to the original source of the material so you can be sure of its authenticity.
The Europeana service now gives multilingual access to 15 million items from some 1,500 of Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage organisations.
See what Europeana is currently working on below:
APIs: we are piloting Application Programming Interfaces – APIs. Our partners and other cultural sites can integrate information from Europeana into their own sites in virtual exhibitions and learning resources. APIs enable us to distribute material directly into the workflow of the user.
Mobile interface: mobile devices are set to overtake personal computers as the most common web access tools worldwide. We have developed a mobile interface for Europeana, which was launched this summer. The code is available in EuropeanaLabs for further development and refinement by the open source community as new devices come to market.
Data quality: users can only find what they want if the metadata quality is good; they can only link through to the content providers’ websites if the link is persistent, and they can only know what they are allowed to do with the content if rights are clearly identified. These are improvements that we will be pursuing with our content providers in the coming months.
EDM – the Europeana Data Model: we have worked with the keepers of the metadata standards and experts in all domains, and are now prototyping the new data model. EDM is compatible with all the professional standards but is far richer than Europeana’s existing model.
Semantic web: EDM will facilitate developments with linked open data. The massive, authoritative metadata index at the heart of Europeana’s service is a unique resource for use in experimental applications. Europeana is keen to further research in this field; we believe it will open up knowledge in new ways for all levels of user.
EuropeanaLabs: our code base is all open source and is made freely available on the EuropeanaLabs site. A community of developers from the Europeana group of projects tests, reviews and refines each other’s code. We encourage innovation and the development of new applications and services.
ThoughtLab: a public space on the Europeana.eu portal where we showcase and test the best ideas, tools and resources that are coming out of the Europeana group of projects. Users and partners try out the ideas and submit feedback. We welcome the participation of new initiatives.
The Public Domain: we published the Public Domain Charter to clarify the legal issues around digitisation of out-of-copyright material, and to encourage content holders to support the shared resource that is the public domain. We are launching the Public Domain Mark with Creative Commons to facilitate the display of clear rights status on all content. We have written Public Domain Usage Guidelines to help all our users understand their rights and responsibilities.
Virtual exhibitions: a new level of interpretation and context is added to Europeana’s content when curatorial expertise is applied to it. Europe’s art and literature are celebrated in our first exhibitions: Reshaping Art Nouveau and Reading Europe introduce users to a rich and shared heritage drawn from every corner of the continent.
The European information space: Europeana operates within a network of national portals, domain aggregators and commercial content providers. All of these integrate digital resources and add value specific to different types of user, including professional researchers, students at all levels, lifelong learners and expert amateurs. Europeana will support and strengthen this network with the objective of helping the user get the information they need, when and how they want it.