Finland’s National Digital Library Formula for Success

Today, David Smith, Europeana’s Business Developer for GLAM relations, tells us how his year finished with a productive get-together in Finland.

Throughout 2012, we worked hard on building relationships and improving working practices with the organisations who provide Europeana’s content, in particular national content initiatives and aggregators.

We ran a series of workshops, including one in Finland. On 20 November, three members of Europeana travelled to a cold but beautiful Helsinki for a day of presentations and lively discussion.

The general theme of the workshop was how to streamline the process of making metadata available to the national aggregator and to Europeana - never a small task. We were joined by members of Finland’s National Library, Ministry of Education and Culture, National Board of Antiquities as well as developers and private companies.

Workshop in progress

First of all, we learnt about the environment that Finnish cultural organisations find themselves in right now, and heard about the establishment of an aggregation service and its relationships to the Europeana Network. You can see the presentation from Minna Karvonen from the Ministry of Education and Culture here.

Aki Lassila shared progress on Finland’s National Digital Library. It will consist of two technical elements: a public interface called ‘Finna’, and a service called ‘Formula’ which aggregates material to Europeana. With a potential collection of 20 million items from across the cultural sector in Finland, the aggregator will take on an increasingly important role when it goes live.

Helsinki, 1928, French National Library, public domain

The Europeana team then took the opportunity to discuss our priorities for the Europeana Network, Business Plan and the aggregation landscape. In my role as Business Developer for GLAM relations, my own priorities are around use of the Europeana API, and the development of audiovisual material and masterpieces in Europeana. This triggered a lively debate on masterpieces with questions ranging from ‘What constitutes a masterpiece?’ through to fundamental arguments about the necessity of representing masterpieces in the Europeana dataset.

After the morning’s discussions, we turned our attentions to practical workshops, the first of which was run by Europeana’s Francesca Morselli and looked at metadata ingestion. This raised some interesting perspectives from content owners on the new Europeana Data Model metadata standard.

Helsingfors, le Quai, Zentralbibliothek Zürich and The European Library, public domain

Another workshop looked at making the process of providing content to ‘Formula’ more efficient. Again, the issues and possibilities raised by EDM were talking points, as was how ‘Finna’ and ‘Formula’ could be promoted to Finland’s cultural heritage sector to ensure wide buy-in and ongoing development.

The day finished with a series of action points for the future for both Europeana and the National Library. Then, armed with our ‘To do’ lists for 2013, we made our goodbyes, hopped onto the airport bus and headed home.

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