By Milena Popova, Senior marketing specialist at Europeana

Europeana and our partner project Apps4Europe invite developers, startups and companies that use open data to join the project’s online competition and win a spot at the International Business Lounge Future Everything conference on 26 and 27 February 2015 in Manchester (UK).

Apps4Europe is a support network that provides tools to transform open data app prototypes into viable businesses. The project started in February 2013 and brings together 19 partners from 10 European countries.

Apps4Europe has introduced the ´Business Lounge´ format, a special programme that connects developers with investors and incubators and guides the app creators in bringing their projects successfully to the market. With ten local business lounges added to hackathons across Europe and an online competition annually, the project aims to find the best open data applications and startups that Europe has to offer.

First business lounge in Amsterdam, 29 June 2013. By Simon Webbon, rights reserved.

Last year’s finalists for the international business lounge showed solutions in retail, culture, hyperlocal media, mobility and sustainable energy. Culture was well represented by four apps:

  • Muse Open Source by Glimworm, an IT company based in the Netherlands. Muse is a free software platform for publishing native iPad apps for digital libraries with cultural heritage content. Muse Open Source serves as the underlying publishing platform of Europeana Open Culture app
  • Old Maps Online by Klokan Technologies – a mobile app to discover and explore beautiful historical maps
  • Nostalgeo by Nazka Mapps - an app which combines contemporary street views with old postcards in order to create street views of the past.
  • Second Take - this app downloads historical images from a public database based on the user’s position.

The cultural projects were well recognised, receiving three out of four awards:

Ides Bauwens, Naska Mapps, receives the 1st place award.

And a true success story: Last year’s winner (#2 place) BikeCityGuide.org demonstrated the potential of using open data to enhance their company and expand their services. Since the international Business Lounge at Future Everything last year, they were able to reach new cities and raise almost €140,000 in crowdfunding.

This year´s online competition will run between 1 September and 31 December 2014 on http://appsforeurope.eu/content/submit-your-application

By Anna van den Broek, content marketing specialist at Europeana

A page from: Llibres d'entrades de malalts. 1647-1648. Biblioteca de Catalunya, Public Domain.

At Europeana, you can discover millions of public domain works in all shapes and forms. One of the institutions that made their public domain collection available through Europeana is Biblioteca de Catalunya. Their own collection consists of more than 13,000 items. To learn more about Biblioteca de Catalunya's stunning public domain collection, we spoke to Eugènia Serra Aranda, the director of the library.

Opening up the collections of Biblioteca de Catalunya has been part of their strategic goal. However, there is more than strategy; there is also drive and passion to give people access to information and knowledge as much as possible. `We do not have a specific open access policy, but our strategic documents include several references to the commitment of the library to promote open access. We understand that open access is the way to facilitate a wider access to knowledge and to promote the development of societies.’

Biblioteca de Catalunya opened up the entire collection of incunabula (a book, pamphlet, or printing that was printed —not handwritten—before the year 1501 in Europe), all the papers of the Catalan poet Joan Maragall, and part of the collection of parchments, letters, printed music, maps, photographs, etc. We asked Eugènia to highlight a significant piece from their public domain collection, but with so many items, she said it was difficult to pick only one:

'There’s the Cançoner Gil; it is a spectacular songbook from the 14th century of Occitan origin. It doesn't contain the musical notation - just the poems to be read by troubadours. It is a handwritten document, made of parchment with precious initial letters and decorated margins. The story of how it came to this library is interesting. At the beginning of the 20th century, this book belonged to a professor who put it on sale. It had a very high price and there was more than one library interested. In order to assure that the document would remain in Catalonia, ten wealthy patrons decided to gather the amount necessary to acquire it, and then they donated it to the Biblioteca de Catalunya. Ever since, it continues to be one of our most appreciated treasures.´

´I would also like to remark on the collection of books of patients of the Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona. The Biblioteca conserves the collection of books of admissions from the 15th-18th centuries, in which sick people were registered when they entered the hospital. It is a collection of extraordinary value for demography, onomastics, and to understand the way of life and customs of this period. The description of many patients includes a name, surname, age, gender, origin, clothes, belongings, sometimes the disease and if they died or left the hospital healthy.´

Explore Biblioteca de Catalunya’s diverse public domain collection through Europeana.

This article was written as part of Europeana’s previous #PublicDomainMonth - a month dedicated to sharing knowledge, best practices and events all related to the Public Domain. You can read and share the full Public Domain Charter. You can also get involved by following #PublicDomainMonth and @EuropeanaIPR on Twitter.

By Valentine Charles and Cécile Devarenne, Europeana Foundation

The Getty Research Institute announced last March the release of their Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) as Linked Open Data. This release opened many opportunities for Europeana.

AAT is a rich, structured and multilingual vocabulary including terms, descriptions, and other information for generic concepts related to art, architecture, other types of cultural heritage and conservation.

AAT has always been an important resource for Europeana’s data providers, especially museums. However, until now Europeana was not in the position to exploit it: firstly because the vocabulary was not openly available, secondly because Europeana didn’t have the technical means to exploit it.

The implementation of the Europeana Data Model (EDM) was the first step towards the re-use of widespread vocabularies such as AAT. EDM embraces the principles of the Semantic Web and therefore can be seamlessly integrated with a network of vocabularies at a semantic level. EDM gives support for contextual resources — the so-called ‘semantic layer’, including concepts from ‘value vocabularies’ like thesauri, authority lists, classifications, either coming from the network of Europeana’s providers or from third-party data sources. Since EDM is geared towards re-using existing semantic resources, the publication of AAT as Linked Open Data was an opportunity to seize.

It offers:

  • an unambiguous reference to a controlled, trustable subject representation
  • machine-readable access to multilingual labels
  • machine-readable access to semantic relationships

Europeana developed internally a small enrichment tool in order to ‘dereference’ the AAT URIs, i.e., fetch all the multilingual and semantic data attached to AAT concepts from the centralised open Getty linked data service. It is really easy, as the AAT linked data are represented with SKOS, which is also the model EDM re-uses for describing concept data (cf. EDM documentation for more details). In the meantime, several Europeana partners were contacted and asked to re-submit their data in EDM, replacing their old AAT labels (provided as a simple text string) by the new AAT URIs in the EDM fields. These URIs are identifiers giving access to the data representing the AAT concepts over the web. The AAT URIs have a base vocab.getty.edu/  to which is added the identifier of the concept. The AAT URIs were dereferenced when the objects that referred to them were ingested in Europeana, bringing in the additional AAT data such as label translations.

The following collections were re-published in the Europeana portal:

In Europeana, enrichments are visible in the portal display, as shown in the http://europeana.eu/portal/record/02301/urn_imss_instrument_402089.html object below. The AAT URIs can be seen in certain metadata fields such as Format and Type. All multilingual labels fetched from the AAT linked data service are displayed in the foldout ‘Auto-generated tags’ area.

The enrichment of Europeana data with AAT data offers strong potential for the developments of multilingual services (cf. Final report of the EuropeanaTech Task Force on Multilingual and Semantic Enrichment Strategy). It complements nicely the data of other open and multilingual vocabularies that Europeana encourages providers to send links to, such as GND, Iconclass, VIAF or any domain vocabulary following the EDM recommendations for metadata on contextual resources (See these examples of objects enriched with the MIMO or the Partage Plus vocabularies or GND or Iconclass or VIAF). In particular, Europeana is able to translate the terms according to the language of the interface selected by a user based on the translation provided by vocabularies. For the previous example, above, if the language of the interface is switch to Dutch, the term ‘astronomy’ is translated to ‘astronomie’ based on the labels of http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300054534.

Note that the benefits of using AAT also extend to cases where object descriptions have been described with an ad hoc, local vocabulary, if this vocabulary has been mapped to AAT by its creator or a third party. Europeana would then exploit semantic relations and translations across a network of vocabularies, pooling all the contextual data together.

Europeana also performs automatic metadata enrichment with other external value vocabularies and datasets by creating links to objects in Europeana as described in the previous Europeana Blog http://pro.europeana.eu/pro-blog/-/blogs/trackback/a-multilingual-and-semantic-enrichment-strategy A Multilingual and Semantic Enrichment Strategy

The increased dependency of Europeana services, such as query translation, on semantic and multilingual enrichment illustrates the need for rich vocabularies that are:

  • technically available (through Linked Data or in dedicated repositories), properly documented, and in open access.
  • well-connected together, e.g., equivalent elements in other vocabularies are indicated
  • multilingual.

Europeana was involved as an external reviewer of the AAT release, and will continue its efforts in demonstrating the potential of Linked Open vocabularies.

We thank Antoine Isaac, Yorgos Mamakis, Georgios Markakis, David Haskiya, Péter Kiraly, Andrew MacLean and Dean Birkett for their work and the Europeana data providers for their data contributions.

Johan Oomen presents at the Europeana Network AGM 2013. Europeana CC BY-SA

We are looking for enthusiastic candidates from the Europeana Network to kick-start Day 2 of the AGM. If there are projects or initiatives that you would like to share with us, please apply for the Ignite Talks

Following the network recommendations, 6 applicants will be selected to each give a 5-minute presentation about something inspiring and interesting. Topics could range from - your drive for the re-use of cultural heritage content to your belief in open access, or even an app you developed or a digitisation initiative – you name it! Registration is simple, just fill in this form and send it to agm@europeana.eu by 21 September. The Network will then vote to determine the winning entries for 31 October. Circulate this call among your peers, and good luck!

Please note that you have to be registered for the AGM to be eligible to present an Ignite Talk.

Europeana's marketing specialist Neil Bates is participating in the Freedom Express as a Europeana representative. But what is the Freedom Express and why is it relevant to Europeana? Neil answers a few questions...

Neil Bates, Europeana CC BY-SA

What is the Freedom Express and why was it conceived?

The Freedom Express takes twenty young Europeans on a journey, during which they trace the events that transformed Europe. Twenty-five years after the spectacular events that triggered the collapse of communism in Europe, the organisers of the campaign are once again raising questions about that watershed. They are showing young people what the world was like on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and they are asking a new generation of Europeans what, in their opinion, has survived of the spirit of community and solidarity of 1989.

The itinerary includes street-art projects, city games, meetings with opposition activists, joint filmmaking and a collaborative blog.

Who is behind this project?

To make the project happen, European Network Remembrance and Solidarity has brought together ministries of culture and major institutions dealing with twentieth-century history in Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and the Czech Republic.

Main organiser: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity

Co-organisers: National Centre for Culture (Warsaw), Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship (Berlin), Research Institute and Archives for the History of Regime Change (Budapest)

How is Europeana involved in the event? And why?

Europeana will be on the Freedom Express to help promote the Express’s aims and journey through social media and other communications. It also means I get the opportunity to introduce the other participants to Europeana 1989. A workshop with the participants was organised while they were in Gdansk. The1-hour workshop introduced the group to the Europeana 1989 project and highlighted some of the fascinating stories that have been preserved as a result of the project throughout Central and Eastern Europe. We will also be holding a collection day for Europeana 1989 while the group is in Berlin. The Freedom Express participants are all invited to take part in the collection day and to meet members of the general public that bring along their stories. They’ll also have the opportunity to get involved in the process of digitisation.

How did you get involved?

I applied like everybody else. I have a strong interest in the events of 1989, even more since I began working for Europeana and got involved with the Europeana 1989 project. I used 89 Voices as a basis for my application - an oral history project that aims to record and preserve 89 fascinating firsthand accounts from individuals who experienced the fall of communism and the reunification of Europe. It worked, and I was selected as one of the final 20 from over 100 applicants from across Europe.

The tour begins, Europeana 1989CC BY-SA

How will you represent Europeana on the trip? What will you be doing?

I will be using the trip as an opportunity to deepen my knowledge of the events of 1989 and speak to the pivotal protagonists of that time, directly. Personal stories, memories and experiences can help others to understand what it was really like to live in the period and they provide a different perspective. And by capturing them for Europeana 1989 and 89 Voices, we can share the experiences of this important period in our history widely online today and for future generations. So I will also continue with my work on the 89 voices project, as well as update media and contribute to Freedom Express and Europeana blogs. Every opportunity on the trip is used to interview and photograph participants, organisers, guest speakers and general members of the public. And I will also be on the other end of the microphone, taking part in interviews based on my reflections for a number of documentaries that will be produced surrounding the Freedom Express.

What sort of updates can people look forward to from you?

You can expect new 89 Voices to be uploaded regularly, as and when stories are preserved. You will also find regular updates via Europeana 1989’s social media channels, in particular on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, along with the other 19 participants, I will be contributing to a collaborative blog on the Freedom Express.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/europeana1989

Twitter: http://twitter.com/europeana1989

Europeana blog: http://blog.europeana.eu

Freedom Express blog: http://1989.enrs.eu/blog/

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About

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

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