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Europeana, the European digital library, provides access to several million digitized documents representative of the European historical and cultural heritage.
Europeana logo

Europeana logo

Visitors can discover the European heritage thanks to a wide range of documents: drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Wermeer’s Girl with a pearl earring, Darwin’s scientific treatises about the origin of species, Descartes’ Discourse on the Method, but also videos and photographs produced in Germany during the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Beethoven or Rossini scores.

Today, Europeana gathers over 20 million digital objects – text, image, sound and video – from European libraries, archives, museums and audiovisual institutions. 1500 institutions have contributed to the project: the Institut national de l’audiovisuel, the Cité de la musique in France, the British Library in the United Kingdom, the National Library of Poland, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm and institutions of all sizes across Europe.

By offering the expertise of its staff, the BnF, founding member of Europeana, is committed both to the initiative and the foundation itself. Bruno Racine, President of the BnF, was elected Chairman of Europeana in October 2011. This election illustrates continuity in the library’s commitment.

Europeana was launched in 2008 with the support of the European Commission. Today, support consists in promoting various projects that aim to enrich Europeana’s content and functionalities. Among these projects set up with the contribution of the BnF, one may note:

  • the BHL-Europe project: intensification of the scientific dimension of Europeana, namely 25 million additional pages of scientific literature on biodiversity from European collections;
  • by 2014, the creation of a digital corpus of documents from 8 countries, gathering over 400 000 documents dedicated to the Great War (Europeana collections 1914-1918);
  • the creation of a collaborative digital library offering royal manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Europeana Regia project)
  • the creation of a system for distributed management of authors’ rights in order to facilitate the future integration of copyrighted collections in Europeana.

Europeana Regia: a collaborative digital library of royal manuscripts

Three collections of manuscripts available on Europeana Regia: the Biblioteca Carolina, the library of Charles the Vth and his family and the library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples

Three collections of manuscripts available on Europeana Regia: the Biblioteca Carolina, the library of Charles the Vth and his family and the library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples

For the first time, over 900 digital versions of manuscripts from three royal collections have been gathered to reconstruct a specific period in the European cultural heritage. These manuscripts from the Biblioteca Carolina (8th and 9th centuries), the Library of Charles the Vth and his family (14th century), and from the Library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples (15th and 16th century) date from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. They had been scattered across Europe. Thanks to the support of the European Commission, these manuscripts have been collected, digitised, described and made available to researchers and the general public via the internet.

Implemented in January 2010, Europeana Regia is the achievement of a successful collaboration between France, Germany, Spain and Belgium. This project, coordinated by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, would not have been possible without the collections and expertise from the Bayerische Staatbibliothek, the Historical Library of Valence University, the Herzog August de Wolfenbüttel Library, the Royal Library of Belgium and a major contribution from French libraries such as the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, the Bibliothèque Mazarine, the public libraries of Amiens, Abbeville, Epernay, Reims, Valenciennes, Besançon, Angers, Bourges, Grenoble, Rouen and Louviers, and the Société des lettres, sciences et arts of the Aveyron region in Rodez.

Today, all the manuscripts are available in color and high definition via partner libraries’ websites, the multilingual website and the Europeana website.

Monday, June 4, 2012