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OPLIN 4Cast #216: European strategy

Posted in 4cast

Europeana logoIt’s quite likely that many readers of this blog know that OCLC recently released a sequel to the respected Perceptions of Libraries report first issued in 2005. As with the first Perceptions report, the 2010 edition explores the concept of libraries as it relates to information consumers and their online habits, preferences, and perceptions. Readers may not have noticed, however, that at about the same time, Europeana released their strategic plan through 2015, another interesting document. Europeana is a web portal launched in 2008 that provides links to cultural artifacts from museums, archives, and libraries across Europe, with the eventual aim of providing access to all of Europe’s digitized cultural heritage by 2025. Their shorter term strategic plan highlights some interesting problems in the immediate future which should also affect U.S. libraries, so in today’s 4Cast we share some quotes from the four main goals of the plan: aggregate, facilitate, distribute, and engage.

  • Aggregate (begins on page 12)  “In order that the diversity of Europe is reflected, we will seek out content from under-represented cultures and countries and aim to stimulate digitisation programmes to make sure that Europeana offers an appropriate level of visibility. Users should be able to access the full spectrum of culture, from court composers to street music, and from ancient worlds to modern times.”
  • Facilitate (begins on page 14)  “Orphan works are of particular concern to Europeana, because the portal focuses attention on the existence of the 20th century black hole. The most recorded century is sparsely documented on Europeana, and the most popular audiovisual content is the most scarce. Europeana will continue to press for solutions to the problems caused by orphan works, which cannot be digitised and made publicly accessible.”
  • Distribute (begins on page 16)  “We will continue to develop the portal in line with our users’ evolving needs and expectations, but in addition, we will develop initiatives to make the content as findable, understandable and reusable as possible. Enabling discovery and reuse of Europeana’s content is the essence of our business model. Recent technological changes mean that users no longer go to content; rather, applications deliver content direct to the user, and the chosen device is mobile. We must ensure that our content is available where our target users congregate, among the resources that they habitually use.”
  • Engage (begins on page 18)  “We will devote increasing resources to initiatives that bring out the value of the contribution that users can make. We will continue to work with Wikipedia to develop opportunities for collaboration. Wikipedia’s model of user involvement, multilingual content, range of cultural and scientific coverage and extensive interpretation offers strengths that are complementary to Europeana’s.”

Collection fact:
In 2010, the Europeana portal provided access to 14 million items; by 2015, they project that 30 million items will be available.