By Jef Malliet, Erfgoedplus.be
Europeana Awareness produced ‘Guidelines for Europeana users interested in pursuing local or family history themes’. We believe that this document contains valuable elements for further work, reflection and discussion beyond the context of the EAwareness project and that it is worth sharing with the wider Europeana community.
Europeana Awareness (2012-2014) wants to encourage participation in Europeana among new users and contributors. New or improved technical solutions are developed. Additional new partnerships with relevant community networks are investigated and initiated. One such potential target group consists of local collections and archives. Their holdings are often considered not very relevant for history research at a broad level; only for local history and genealogy research. When the material and the research stay local, there is not much purpose in providing online access to an international community. However, when events or people disappear from the local records because they moved to other places, then remote accessibility becomes extremely important. Local history and genealogy produce information very similar to UGC (user generated content), which is worth sharing for the same reasons.
Requirements of promotion, lobbying and visibility have till now attracted the attention in Europeana prevalently to a ‘masterpiece’ focus. ‘The New Renaissance’, the 2011 report of the Comité des Sages, recommended that ‘ Member States should ensure ‘that by 2016 they have brought all their public domain masterpieces into Europeana’ (p. 26). However, there is a growing group of people who believe that the concept of Europeana is better suited and more valuable for providing access to local heritage objects and content, which otherwise are very hard to find and access.
This point of view is the basis of projects such as EuropeanaLocal (2008-2011) and LoCloud (2013-2016). In particular, local heritage is more powerful than ‘masterpieces’ as it involves more people with heritage and history. It helps people to better understand the objects and issues they meet in daily life. Thus, local heritage is very suitable for education and for broadening the interest in culture and heritage in general.
The guidelines document builds on other work that was done in EAwareness. Besides a general overview of the meaning and importance of local and family history, it provides information about how they can interact with digitised resources and in particular with Europeana. Europeana could help with finding ‘local’ information outside the specific location of a research. Or, through UGC, it can provide a channel for collecting and providing access to otherwise unavailable knowledge (e.g. the Europeana 1914-1918 and Europeana 1989 projects – fig. 1).
The guidelines are not limited to readers of Europeana, but make suggestions that are relevant for data providers and for Europeana itself. National archives across Europe have digitisation projects of person-related registers and have set up special pages for helping genealogical researchers (e.g. Norway - fig. 2). International associations provide specialised websites for sharing genealogical information (e.g. Geneanet - fig. 3). By looking into the various phases of a local history or genealogical research, the guidelines describe why Europeana should not try to compete with such dedicated websites, but that it can offer access to useful complementary information.
The ‘guidelines’ do not set final rules, the topic concerns an open domain, where still much needs to be learned and developed.
By the EUHeritage TOUR team
This is the second of a two-part blog introducing the EUHeritage TOUR project, a one-year project that aims to promote Europe’s World Heritage sites through tourism. The overall objective of this project is to increase the competitiveness of European tourism by creating an innovative transnational tourism product that capitalises the shared value of European UNESCO cultural heritage sites and complements national, regional and local policies.
One of main the outcomes of the project was to create a thematic transnational tourism product focused on World Heritage sites, addressed at the youth. At present, people can take inspiration from the thematic itineraries we have created by accessing the project website (the itineraries are described in details), get information about local accommodation and transportation, leisure and so on. The final beneficiaries (the youth) can find the same information on the digital Tour Guide we developed (it can be downloaded from the website) and through the mobile app (android).
Starting from September 2014, we will work to turn the inspirational thematic itineraries into bookable tourism products.
The other outcome of the project is an eLearning course for World Heritage capacity building, open to everyone, but in particular to the stakeholders in charge of managing and promoting the World Heritage sites. It can be accessed directly through the project website. We also produced a release exclusively for mobile devices (iOS platform, ibook). The average duration is 4 weeks, but it depends on attendance. The course will be open free of charge till September 2014; to access it, you are requested to register on the eLearning environment we developed on the project website.
By the EUHeritageTOUR project team
Europe's cultural heritage is unique.
Its abundance and diversity are testimonies of a rich past, as well as the foundation of a common future. European cultural heritage is widely recognised as a vehicle for cultural identity and EUheritage TOUR wants to put this on a pedestal. Europeana is one of the project partners.
More specifically, EUHeritageTOUR is focused on Europe's World Heritage sites, recognised by Unesco for their outstanding universal value. Since the World Heritage convention was signed in 1972, over 900 sites have been awarded this status and the majority of them are located in Europe.
The scope of EUHeritageTOUR is the tourism potential of these World Heritage sites. On the one hand, we elaborate an attractive tourism product, on the other hand we are focusing on capacity building of stakeholders in both the cultural heritage and tourism sector. The project is specifically aimed at both young professionals and young tourists, but is obviously open to everyone interested in participating.
Main outputs of the project:
- EUHeritageTOUR cultural route: The concept behind the EUHeritageTOUR cultural route is that ‘differences’ and ‘commonalities´ of national/ regional/ local peculiarities, represented by the UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout Europe can effectively contribute to the rise of local /inter-regional social cohesion, a stronger local and collective pride and a greater sense of European identity.
- An e-learning course: The EUHeritageTOUR project has developed an e-learning course open to everyone - but in particular to the stakeholders in charge of managing and promoting the World Heritage sites. The contents of the e-learning course were developed on an analysis of the most interesting and innovative good practices in the field of management and promotion of the heritage sites and properties in Europe.
This is part one of a two-part article on the EUHeritageTour project.
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.
We’re looking for creative developers and entrepreneurs to use the Europeana collections to create applications for the following themes – tourism and social networks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.