By Maria Teresa Natale (ICCU, Italy) and Arlene Peukert (SPK, Germany) in cooperation with the European project AthenaPlus and the National Central Library of Rome

The topic of re-use and exploitation of digital cultural heritage will be of central importance during an international conference taking place on the 2 October in Rome. This event, hosted by ICCU, is included in the official programme of the Italian Presidency and is organised in collaboration with the European Commission, the Europeana Foundation and the European project AthenaPlus.

The Italian Presidency offers a great opportunity to frame a work plan on the topic of re-use and exploitation of digital cultural heritage in education, tourism and leisure shared at a European level. The conference will provide a space for debate and exchange of ideas in order to plot strategies for the development of digital cultural heritage as a driving force in the sectors of education and tourism. A poster session on projects, best practices and case studies will complete this international event.

Cultural institutions, research centers, education bodies, and private companies are cordially invited to submit one or more posters on one of the following topics:

  • Digitisation of cultural heritage for education, tourism and leisure;
  • Interoperability of systems and applications: aggregators as opportunity to involve new audiences;
  • IPR, open Data, linked data, re-use: best practices in the use of open licences to foster data linking and re-use;
  • Web communication and social media: effective web and social media communication examples to attract tourists;
  • Digital storytelling, Transmedia storytelling: best practices and case studies;
  • Usability and accessibility: examples of digital cultural products to foster accessible education, tourism and leisure;
  • Transversality and Cooperation: public-private partnerships, synergies between cultural institutions, local authorities and suppliers;
  • User needs analysis: how cultural institutions and creative industries monitor the needs of users and tourists to improve services.

How to participate:

If you would like to participate in the poster session on re-use and exploitation of digital cultural heritage please visit the official conference website to get more information on guidelines and editing rules. Please submit your online registration form (one for each poster) by 30 August.

Here’s the must-know information for some of the forthcoming Europeana partner and cultural heritage key events. Interested? Follow the links to find out more or to register.

Two gossiping women taking tea at a small round table. Wellcome library, CC BY

Enter the Europeana Creative Open Innovation Challenges, deadline 28 August

We’re looking for creative developers and entrepreneurs to use the Europeana collections to create applications for the following themes – tourism and social networks.

More information

Access and Usability Training, 17-18 September in Florence, Italy

APARSEN project is organising this 2-day training event that will focus on the topics of ‘Access’ and ‘Usability’ in relation to the preservation of digital objects.

More information

Safeguarding our Scientific, Educational and Cultural Heritage, 24 September in Amsterdam

A joint preservation workshop at the RDA Plenary 4. This workshop will be held on 24 September in Amsterdam co-located with the RDA 4th Plenary. It features presentations from APARSEN, SCIDIP-ES, DPHEP and EUDAT. The event if free to attend but please register.

More information

Launch of the Centre of Excellence, 22-23 October in Brussels

APARSEN invites you to the official launch of its Centre of Excellence in Digital Preservation. The public event will gather important European stakeholders in digital data and digital preservation.

More information

Digital Cultural Content Re-imagined, 16-17 October in Venice

A two-day conference that will cover key topics related to re-use of cultural contents in creative industries. Six thematic pilots that will be developed by Europeana Space, will be presented. The pilots are going to explore new possibilities of creative reuse of digital cultural content.

Registration and more information

If you would like us to promote your events, please send the relevant details to Susan Muthalaly, and we´ll see how we can help.

By Julia Fallon, IPR & Policy Advisor

It’s time to make Europeana a truly democratic and representative network. We believe that as a Network we need to makes changes so that we can deliver Strategy 2020. Making the changes requires your input.

Last month our vision for Europeana 2020, to transform the world with culture, was published. We also shared the recommendations, prepared by the Europeana Governance Task Force, for changing the way we run things. Some of the Network members responded from their summer deck chairs, but to validate the recommendations a stronger response is important.

So, Europeana Network Members, share your views on the recommendations for change to your Network!

Read the recommendations in full and complete the survey by midnight CEST 24 August.

The recommendations

  • Democratise the governance of the running of Europeana by embedding elections of representatives at each level of governance,
  • Give a much bigger role to the Europeana Network as the democratic, working base of Europeana by changing from 6 network officers into a Members’ Council of 50 elected representatives and delivering direct representation in the Governing Board,
  • Maintain a Governing Board of 15 who are able to react decisively and effectively within required time limits,
  • Ensure the Governing Board is transparent and more directly accountable to the broader membership,
  • Have a mix of stakeholders and expertise in the Governing Board with very clear role definitions in order to fulfill Europeana Strategy 2020.

We know many of you have been exercising your creative minds and putting together an application for either the Tourism or Social Networks Challenge. We also recognise, even when an idea is really good, it is sometimes quite difficult to start getting everything “down on paper” when creating an application. With 10 days until the submission deadline, we thought it was a good time to provide some mind concentrating guidance to help you together with a checklist to make sure you have given your application the best chance of success.

1)  What is your idea?

It sounds such a simple question but writing a powerful, concise and clear text to express an idea can be very tricky. When an author writes text it is meaningful to them but sometimes not so much to others! We would encourage you to talk to peers, friends or family to work out if the text you have written can be understood easily by a layman reader. Ask them to be critical and ask questions – it is a bad idea to assume knowledge. This process might help you plug gaps of understanding and improve the quality of your application – acquiring you valuable marks from the judges. Clearly communicating your idea is critical!

Some processes for building scenarios and ideas in our eCreative workshops

2) What makes your idea unique or innovative?

We have many applications to judge in this competition. Sometimes it is hard to appreciate why or how the idea expressed in the application presents something different than existing products/services. It might be something completely new. It could be something that is not necessarily new but takes a very different approach to an old problem or is contextually innovative. Whichever it is, just make sure you are clear, tell us the essential information we need to know and provide sensible reasoning so we don’t misunderstand the potential your idea has.

3) Who is your target market?

You will need customers/users to be successful and we need to know who they will be (not literally!) and why they would want to use your product/service. Make sure you clearly define who they are and why you have configured the design of your product/service in the way you have to meet their needs. Be clear about any research and analysis you have undertaken to provide the rationale behind your decisions. Make sure you explain how you intend to engage the customers/users to obtain market penetration. Decisions backed by sensible reasoning will hopefully show that you have made a realistic appraisal of the opportunities available.

Benchmarking, discussion of indicators and motivations for re-use during different eCreative workshops

4) Is the project financially viable?

In the application form we ask you to provide a one page tentative overview of the required financial resources to realise and sustain the product/service idea. This is really important for any new business as an investor or bank, should you be looking for finance, needs to be confident the relationship between the need for working capital (real money) and the implementation requirements of the project (forecasted costs) are realistic and achievable. You also need to know this for your own good, regardless of whether you need investment! Being able to provide a realistic revenue forecast (sales) for the product/service increases confidence as it shows at what point in time the financial position changes from the business being in debt to returning a profit. Having ambition is fantastic and exactly the kind of attitude we want to see but please try and be realistic – as much as many new businesses might want to emulate Apple, Google, Walmart or Pfizer in terms of financial success the likelihood is low!

5) How feasible is your idea?

We need to determine whether your product/service is feasible from a technical perspective. You can assure us of this by explaining why your team can achieve the technical goals you have set. We need to be confident you and any associates, whether individuals within a proposed team or external resources, will be capable of realising the proposed product/service. This means we expect to see the skills and expertise required match those of the project team and the external partners or you have adequately demonstrated how they will be acquired during the project. We also recommend that you have taken a good holistic overview of the project resources (human resources, software licenses, equipment etc….) to ensure it is feasible to undertake all the different aspects and within the timeframe you have detailed in the application. It is not just about considering software development feasibility, rather it is feasibility of all the parts of the business that contribute to the success of the project.

6) How will you use Europeana and its content in your product/service?

Those applications that show a good understanding of Europeana and its potential are more likely to score well at judging time. Make sure you have done your research and can clearly communicate the kinds of content you would use. Try and be as specific as you can, ideally by identifying examples of individual items or collections of content you would be actively looking to re-use. Remember the Europeana Creative project is all about creative/innovative re-use of Europeana’s cultural heritage content, so do not underestimate this aspect – it can really make you stand out from the rest!

Examples of reusable datasets via the Europeana Labs platform

We hope the above helps you complete those sections you may be struggling with or inspires you to start a new application altogether!

Finally - take a look at our checklist and hints below to review your application progress:

• Have you answered each of the required questions on the application form?

Hint: use the word limit as a guide to see the length of answer we expect

• Have you explored Europeana’s rich content and formulated your requirements?

Hint: check out the Europeana Portal and Europeana Labs websites to help with this

• Have you created and uploaded a Business Model Canvas (BMC)?

Hint: watch this video to understand more about the BMC and once you have created it, you should find the content really useful to help complete some of the answers!

• Have you created and uploaded a financial resources overview?

Hint: list all the different resources you will need to complete the project remembering it is not all about software development and produce a realistic revenue forecast

• Have you created and uploaded an applicant profile?

Hint: have you mentioned the skills, qualifications and experience relevant to your application and what motivation you collectively have to realise the goals of this project?  

• Have you supported your application by linking to or uploading any other useful material such as a video, screencast, mock-up, demo or website?

Hint: sometimes even simple sketches and diagrams help communicate your idea so don’t waste a good opportunity to visually convey your idea

Good luck with your application and don’t leave it to the last minute as you won’t give yourself the best chance!

Sharing is Caring is an important anthology of essays and lectures on openness and sharing in the cultural heritage sector that was published earlier this year. In light of our recent #PublicDomainMonth campaign, it brings forth many voices and arguments for leaving the public to care for our heritage, as they are the ones who sustain our institutions and keep organisations such as Europeana relevant. The public cares when cultural heritage belongs to them, is a message that echoes through the book: When cultural heritage is digitised, it can be replicated and freely shared repeatedly. We interviewed the editor of Sharing is Caring, Merete Sanderhoff, curator of digital museum practice at Statens Museum for Kunst, the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) and member of the Europeana Network, to discuss how the book came about.


What is the aim of the book? How important is it for promoting open innovation in the cultural sector?

The aim of the book is to discuss and promote adoption of open practices in the cultural sector. It provides analyses from our peers in the sector of the implications, consequences and potential of opening up digitised collections and data, and our ways of interacting with the public. We can use the knowledge being shared, learn from it to create sustainable ways to care for our cultural heritage. A way to promote the adoption of open licensing of data and content, open practices, and an open mindset towards the world is by providing great studies, analyses, and examples from peers. Why do we want to promote this? Because sharing the authority and ability to work with, interpret, learn from and use our cultural heritage in digital form is the most sustainable way to care for it in a digital age. We need the public to care as much for the preservation of our heritage as we do, and they do that when it’s in their hands so to speak, when it’s useful to them on their own terms to do what they want and need to do; when cultural heritage is theirs.

How did the book come about? Why and how did you get involved with the book?

Sharing is Caring is a seminar that has been held since 2011 to put openness and sharing on the agenda in the cultural heritage sector. At SMK, we had conducted some pilot projects in close collaboration with colleague museums in Denmark to test the potentials of free image sharing, and we wanted to share and amplify what we had learned. Furthermore, we wanted to invite the thought leaders we had learned from during our pilots to bring in a broader perspective to our local community in Denmark. The seminar raised lots of interest, both from local culture and heritage communities and international peers, and we have held it ever since. After the first two years, I wanted to make sure that the great insights we gained from the speakers were captured and amplified to a wider international community. I also wanted to give back to this community something solid and valuable in return for the generous sharing of knowledge, resources and expertise that characterises the OpenGLAM field. That is how this anthology came about. It’s published both in Danish and English in order to reach and be useful to as many in our community as possible. It spans a wide array of topics and cases that others can refer to as best practices and lessons learned, and build on in their own work.

Why is open innovation important in the cultural/ memory institution sector?

The content of the cultural heritage, when set free, can greatly enhance the opportunites of the creative industries, research communities, the tourism sector and so on. So open innovation is important because it’s an fantastic opportunity to let our collections, knowledge and data become an integrated part of the larger ecosystem of cognitive and creative surplus that is connected on the internet. Also, we have lots to learn from people outside of our institutions, about how the collections we take care of can be used in novel ways – by developers, startup companies, citizen scientists, crowdsourcing projects, school kids and young creatives.

Michael Edson, Director of Web & New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., and Merete Sanderhoff, Curator of Digital Museum Practice at SMK, talk about the book.

Tell us something about the contributing writers (or the organisations they represent) in relation to open innovation.

The anthology has a wide range of contributors – from museum practitioners and experts in the cultural heritage sector to PhD students, open governance people, a lawyer and a school teacher. It includes both internationally known thought leaders and practitioners – like Michael Edson, Shelley Bernstein and Europeana’s own Jill Cousins – and then a range of people that are well known in the Danish and Scandinavian community, and whose work is leading here, and deserves to be spread to the international field. The entire GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) sector is learning on a global scale these years, and new ideas and practices spring from all over. It is not centralised, but a distributed network.

Where is the book available? How much does it cost?

It can be ordered online. The printed copy costs €15. If you need more than one, contact me and we’ll work out a friendly price. (You can also read it online or download it for free).

RSS (Opens New Window)
Showing 1 - 5 of 100 results.
of 20


The Europeana Professional Blog is for people working in the field of digital cultural heritage. For more information or to contribute, contact

RSS (Opens New Window)