European cultural heritage only a few clicks away
Europeana enables the discovery, reuse and sharing of the digitised heritage collections of 3,700 libraries, archives, museums and audiovisual institutes, including books, manuscripts, photographs, engravings, paintings, television broadcasts, films, sculptures, objects, music sheets and sound recordings.
These digital objects are all representative of the similarities and diversity of Europe’s cultural heritage. Europeana is an invitation to creative reuse and of content appropriation, providing several paths:
- virtual exhibitions;
- thematic collections;
- image galleries;
- blog articles;
- educational resources;
- personalised user space (selections of images, galleries, etc.).
A unique cultural initiative
In 2005, at the initiative of France, the Netherlands and Spain, Member States of the European Union and the European Commission set themselves the goal of developing a digital library in order make the collections all Member States’ cultural institutions available online. Europeana’s prototype was launched in 2008, under the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Bringing together digital content
Funded by the European Commission with support from Member States, Europeana contributes to the creation and reconstitution of thematic ensembles bearing witness to Europe’s history and culture, with such digitisation, aggregation and mediation projects as Europeana Regia (collections of royal manuscripts), Europeana Collections 1914-1918 (heritage of the Great War), Europeana Newspapers (press) and Europeana Music (sound heritage).
A professional network
Europeana is also a network of professionals sharing their expertise and working together in a range of bodies, including working groups on such subjects as copyright, technological challenges and research and development, education and communication. These working groups, for example, have contributed to the establishment of best practices with regard to digitisation as well as data sharing format and interoperability (Europeana Data Model or EDM). Work on data quality and the Semantic Web, along with adoption of the IIIF protocol, are just a few examples illustrating this dynamic. Ensuring systematic identification of conditions for reuse of data, Europeana has also implemented an ambitious content dissemination and reuse policy.
The BnF’s contribution to Europeana
With almost 3 million digital objects, France is not only one of the platform’s main contributors but has also always been closely involved in Europeana’s decision-making apparatus. As a founding member, the BnF has a seat on the Board of Directors (on a rotating basis with the other founding members), and Bruno Racine, President of the BnF from 2007 to 2016, chaired the Europeana Foundation from 2011 to 2016. The French Ministry of Culture, the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and the Cité de la Musique also play an active role in this context. In addition, the BnF supports Europeana’s development by taking part in European projects related to digitisation, aggregation and mediation, starting with thematic collections.
With Gallica, the BnF is also the national aggregator for library data within Europeana. In this regard, it is a member of the Aggregators’ Forum alongside the Ministry of Culture (national aggregator for museums) and the INA (national aggregator for audiovisual archives).
In return, Europeana enables the BnF to be closely involved in highly ambitious research and innovation projects at European level. Intra-network cooperation provides the BnF with opportunities to share its expertise in the fields of digital library development and further promote its collections outside France.