ATHENA - Access to Cultural Heritage Networks Across Europe

Finished project

ATHENA was an eContentPlus Best Practice Network which brought together relevant stakeholders and content owners from museums and other cultural institutions all over Europe to evaluate and integrate specific tools, based on a common agreed set of standards and guidelines to create harmonised access to their content.

ATHENA made circa 4 million items available to Europeana.

ATHENA began in November 2008 and lasted for 30 months. It was coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Culture. Partners were from 20 EU Member States plus Israel, Russia and Azerbaijan. 109 top museums and other cultural institutions are directly associated with the project.

ATHENA built on and continued the work previously carried out by the MINERVA Network and the MICHAEL Association. Both networks managed to significantly raise awareness about best practice in digitisation and access to digital content among European cultural heritage professionals.

ATHENA goals and results

  • To support and encourage the participation of museums and other institutions not yet fully involved in Europeana
  • To produce a simple and easy-to-use technical architecture to facilitate the integration of content into Europeana
  • To enrich the content using semantic web technologies, multilingual thesauri, other language resources and a data model optimised for the integration of museum content into Europeana
  • To make technical aids available and to resolve IPR issues that impede online accessibility to cultural heritage content
  • To provide overall guidance and support to museums and other institutions throughout the process of submitting content by a network of national representatives specifically appointed to promote best practice and facilitate the process of content ingestion into ATHENA and Europeana

Project website

Linked project

Linked Heritage


Project contact

Project coordinator
Rossella Caffo
Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali c/o ICCU