Provider FAQs

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about providing data to Europeana

Please also see our pages on the Europeana Data Model, intellectual property rights and rights statements.

Providing data to Europeana

Q: I want to contribute data to Europeana, where do I begin?

The best place to get started is 'How to contribute data'.

Q: Technically, how should we deliver our metadata to Europeana?

Metadata is best delivered via OAI-PMH. But if this is not possible XML files can be delivered via FTP or emailed to us. However OAI-PMH is the recommended form of delivery.

Q: In what format should we deliver metadata to Europeana?

The objective is for providers to supply their metadata in the richest XML format possible. We accept metadata in three formats, EDM, ESE and Source metadata as long as it is provided with an appropriate mapping to EDM (an XSLT file for example). The Europeana Aggregation team will then carry out the processing, ensure the good quality of the data and publish it to the Europeana database. If you are having difficulty creating a mapping or crosswalk for your dataset, please contact your aggregator or if you are a direct provider to Europeana, contact the Aggregation team.

Q: Is data in Europeana expressed in XML or RDF?

At the moment, we are using an XML schema to represent EDM data.

Q: How do I create unique identifiers for my provided cultural heritage objects?

Please refer to the URIs in the context of the Europeana Data Model document for more information

Q: How can we update our data?

Updates are done by resubmitting your dataset to Europeana after changes in the dataset (addition or deletion of records) or in the mapping.

Q: How frequently does Europeana harvest data?

Europeana harvests and publishes on a monthly basis. See the Europeana Publication Policy for more information and the complete schedule.

Q: How long will it take until my data is visible on Europeana?

Europeana has a dedicated team which is responsible for data harvesting. For entirely new datasets and providers, it is important to submit data as early as possible to ensure the team have enough time to provide you with feedback on your datasets. This process could take up to 3 months.

When should I submit my dataset?

The Aggregation team harvests material on a monthly basis, and there is a submission deadline for all datasets of the 21st of the month. This gives us time to process and enrich your datasets for publication.

Digital Objects

Q: What is a digital object?

A digital representation of an object that is part of Europe's cultural and/or scientific heritage. The Digital Object can also be the original object when born digital. See also the Europeana Glossary.

Q: How does Europeana count the number of objects? For example, does a digitised book of 300 pages count as one object or 300?

Europeana counts the number of records. So if a book has 300 pages that you can navigate on the local site but there is only one record to the book in Europeana, it will count as one object. We recommend grouping these types of records together, either using a hierarchical structure, or providing multiple web resources in an appropriate sequence.

Q: What is the best level of granularity for objects to be submitted to Europeana?

The granularity should reflect the level of description of the object. The granularity should be a) at a level that is meaningful for a user and b) should have a metadata record appropriate to that level and which provides context for the material. For example, when providing a link to a single page in a book, if there is no context about the book as a whole provided in the accompanying metadata, the record will make no sense.
Granularity, in the case of hierarchical objects, is easier to express using EDM.

Q: I have descriptions that are so rich they could be regarded as digital objects in their own right even though they have no digital ‘image’ to accompany the description. They are essentially very full metadata records. What is the policy about including such objects?

Europeana focuses on giving access to the digital version of physical objects held in institutions rather than just abstract digital information about these objects. Therefore such catalogue descriptions are not considered as digital objects in their own right within the context of Europeana. This definition includes digitised catalogue cards as well, as they function as finding aids and not as objects.

Links to media files

Q: What is Europeana’s policy regarding links to media files?

From the links to media files provided in the metadata, Europeana will try to:

  • generate thumbnail images and show them as part of the search results in Europeana Collections to help users find what they are looking for.
  • extract technical metadata from media files to allow for a richer search experience and to power functionalities such as enlarging and downloading images and other media.
  • Explanations on the process and requirements for the media files which are linked to from the provided metadata can be found in the Europeana Media Policy.

Data Enrichment

Q: I want to learn more about enrichment by Europeana, where do I begin?

For the most up-to-date information, see the Europeana Semantic Enrichment Framework.

Q: How does Europeana enrich metadata?

Europeana attempts to enrich data by cleaning it and adding standard multilingual terms and references to answer ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ questions. This is done by linking textual descriptions to terms from thesauri or controlled vocabularies using the Europeana Enrichment Framework. The added terms and values are not copied back into the provider metadata but stored alongside it and displayed under separate ‘Autogenerated tags’ in the portal.

Q: I have information about named creators - how is that enriched?

Person names are matched to DBpedia entries to give a unique identifier for the name. This links to additional information about the person, and enables the display of multilingual versions of the name in the portal.

Q: I have information about concepts in my dataset - how is that enriched?

Concepts are matched to the terms in the Gemet thesarus which provides a unique reference for the concept. It also enables the display of the term in many languages and a display of the references and labels of broader terms. With EDM, you can also use the SKOS concept class and link your data to a LOD vocabulary. For this, we would recommend using Getty's Art and Architecture Thesaurus, PartagePlus vocabulary, MIMO, IconClass, VIAF, and the vocabulary of the German Digital Library. If you would like to add a vocabulary please discuss this with the Ingestion team.

Q: What about geo-spatial information?

Places are matched to place names in GeoNames. This gives a unique reference for the place name, enables the display of multilingual versions of the names, the display of geographic coordinates and broader geographic areas associated with the place. We also recommend using the Place Class feature of EDM, which allows for the submission of the latitude and longitude of the object. We also recommend it to refer to the location of the item's discovery and not where it is currently housed in a memory institution.

Q: I would like to include dates, are these enriched?

Time periods are enriched with the Semium Time vocabulary from a vocabulary developed using the Annocultur tool. This establishes a unique reference for the time period with start and end dates and can also connect to the name of historical periods.