The primary objective of the Europeana Inside project is “…to support the Digital Agenda for Europe by achieving a lasting transformation in the quantity, scope and usability of the content available to Europeana from European cultural institutions.”
I have found that most South African institutions do not know about Europeana and have not followed its development over the past few years, so I have included a short description here to help you become familiar with this modern digital library and how you can connect and reap the benefits of being part of the digital future.
Africa is traditionally called the “dark continent” due to the lack of knowledge about the continent, and its cultural and natural heritage. Whereas this is changing in many ways, there is now a new threat of Africa becoming the dark continent in digital space, since so little African heritage is available through the trusted digital repositories. We can change this – we need a Digital Agenda for Africa which is a strongly supported as the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Europeana is the European Digital Library, which aggregates more than 4.5 million items of digital content and its associated metadata to users from around the world. Europeana is shaping the next generation of web-based content, by providing digital items from trusted sources, and making these available through a range of search and discovery options.
Europeana is open to content from outside of the EU, so long as this is euro-centric in nature, and whereas there is a focus on cultural heritage, there is much digital content from the natural heritage, and social history. We are working with museums in South Africa to prepare their content for submission to Europeana, with the benefit that this will then expose the local South African heritage to a worldwide audience.
The Europeana Connection Kit
One of the deliverables of Europeana Inside is the ECK – the Europeana Connection Kit – to facilitate the movement of content to and from Europeana from within Collection Management Systems. One of our roles in this project is to explore how to embed this ECK into our own ETHER Base collection management system. Another is to provide a linkage from the Europeana community back into South Africa.
Should you wish to know more about the Europeana Project, or about Europeana in general, we would greatly appreciate your making contact with us.