By the Europeana Food and Drink team

CC-BY-SA Europeana Food and Drink

What is European food and drink cultural heritage all about? When we think about food and drink, we imagine traditional regional delicacies, wines and beers, secret ingredients, intricate production methods and the climatic impact on flavours and aromas. Combined with dining etiquette, eating rituals, emblematic traditions, nostalgic locations and historically meaningful events and occasions, food and drink form the foundation of culture. From very personal experiences to community-specific habits and national traditions, food and drink simply define who we are in all sorts of ways.

For centuries, local and national museums, libraries, archives, galleries and other heritage institutions have been collecting artefacts, images, paintings, books, manuscripts, audio videos and other objects to capture the traditions and to document the development of European food and drink culture.

Europeana Food and Drink, a project promoting the wider re-use of the digital cultural resources and supporting cultural heritage organisations in development of commercial partnerships with creative industries, will demonstrate that relevant digital content available through Europeana can provide a solid basis for the development of innovative and commercially viable applications and services. Digital content such as long forgotten recipes and cookbooks, images and drawings showing traditional foods and their preparation or remarkable food locations will be provided in the course of the project by our project partners. Furthermore, images of vintage tools and artefacts from the food and drink industry as well as sound recordings with traditional songs accompanying hunting and food celebrations and many other digital items harbouring unique stories are waiting to be revealed and revived.

In order to support this creative process, Europeana Food and Drink has initiated its first Open Innovation Challenge ‘Re-using and promoting Europeana Food and Drink heritage content’. The desired solutions should help GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives and museums), tourist agencies and the food and drink industry to improve their business and support the promotion of the European food and drink cultural heritage in the modern digital age. The Open Innovation Challenge is waiting for concepts of all kinds of products and services (videos, mobile apps, games, virtual exhibitions, educational tools, etc.) that can help improve the interactivity between heritage organisations and their audiences. Applicants may use any kind of Europeana or Europeana Labs food and drink content. Thanks to Europeana API, you will gain access to more than 2,000 collections that you can incorporate into your products and applications.

The competition is open to all representatives of creative industries, start-ups, creative teams and non-profit organisations with ideas for innovative methods and solutions.

Until 20 December 2014, the interested parties may apply and submit their proposals through a specific challenge platform. More information on the Open Innovation Challenge, its requirements, guidelines and the access to the challenge platform can be found under: http://foodanddrinkeurope.eu/challengeone/

WW1 and the fall of the Iron Curtain, two events that shaped the Europe we know today will be commemorated at the European Parliament in unique style. A family history roadshow, digitising personal memorabilia of MEPs for these two seminal periods of European history, is taking place in the Parliament.

On 2 and 3 December, Shaping Europe will mark the centenary commemoration of WW1 and the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. Members of the European Parliament and Parliament staff are invited to bring along their personal and family memorabilia to be digitised and to share the stories behind them through Europeana’s two major thematic websites Europeana1914-18.eu and Europeana1989.eu.

Monika Grütters, the German Minister of State for Culture said at the beginning of this year: ‘Europeana is a great bridge builder. In a wonderful way, it is founding connections between cultural institutions across Europe. It is making an important contribution to European cooperation and understanding across borders and tranches of history.'

For the past three years, Europeana 1914-18 and Europeana 1989 have worked with citizens and our cultural institutions across Europe to create online archives that provide a unique perspective on these two seminal events, which can be shared worldwide. The two collection days at the Parliament, add to 150 held across Europe over the last 4 years and directly connect citizens to their cultural heritage.

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana Foundation said: ‘Europeana 1914-1918 and Europeana 1989 connects our state history with our personal memories. They show the power of a Europe connected through its cultural institutions and our shared heritage’.

MEP and one of the initiators of the European Parliament's resolution on European Conscience and Totalitarianism (2009), Mr. Tunne-Väldo Kelam is one of those who have already shared their story through Europeana 1989 and the 89 voices project. He said, 'One of our main objectives at the European Parliament has been to develop a balanced understanding and approach to European history as a whole. Because we noticed that our colleagues and friends in Western and Southern Europe know very little about what happened in the East. We should establish a political balance to recognise these [totalitarian, Nazi and Communist] crimes and express solidarity with the victims.'

Senior representatives from the EU institutions, Member States and cultural organisations will gather at the commemoration, hosted by five members of the European Parliament and its committee of Culture and Education: Ms. Silvia Costa, Ms Sabine Verheyen, Ms. Petra Kammerevert, Mr Maura Barandarián and Ms. Helga Trϋpel. The event will mark the role of these two formative periods in shaping Europe.

On 3 December evening, a reception will be held to mark the importance of culture to the formation of the European Union and the role of the Member States in Europeana 1914-1918 and Europeana 1989. The reception will be attended by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport and Mr Bodgan Andrzej Zdrojewski, MEP and former minister for Culture, Poland.

To follow developments on social media, please use #ShapingEurope.

By Julia Fallon, IPR & Policy Advisor

Introducing the Members’ Council...

We asked for your help to put the Network at the heart of Europeana.

We asked you to nominate candidates to stand for election to the Members’ Council. And then, we asked you to vote for those candidates in a week-long online election. Elections are now closed and hundreds of you voted to elect your representatives.

Today, we are really proud to introduce you to your elected representatives - the very first Europeana Members’ Council.

Europeana CC BY_SA

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your fellow Network members for your tremendous response to the #EuropeanaElects campaign. We would also like to welcome those of you who are new to the Network. Thanks to the 47 candidates and all of your support, we have witnessed a truly democratic election.

We will share more information about the Members’ Council and next steps in the coming week. In the meantime, you will find more about the #EuropeanaElects campaign and the next steps on the dedicated Governance section of Europeana Pro.

#AllezCulture!

We are always looking for interesting articles, case studies and news relating to digital cultural heritage. Do you have an idea? Then get in touch with Susan to discuss it and set a deadline for your submission. Once your idea is approved, please use the following guidelines to ensure your blog is Pro-ready.

Image: The Wellcome Library CC BY

Writing

  • We believe in brevity. So keep it succinct. We do not give you a word limit, but keep your article only as long as it needs to be.
  • If the previous point is too cryptic, a good way to determine the right length is to check if you have answered the who, what, why, when, where and how of your story.
  • Write for the layperson. Watch out for that jargon, because our readers come from a range of backgrounds and we want you to keep them in mind while writing. If your topic is about a technical development, then ensure that you have a layperson-friendly introduction explaining the relevance of your news to the cultural heritage sector.
  • Use examples to illustrate your points. Or anecdotes.
  • Look for a hook - something that will trap your reader’s attention. After all, if you take the trouble to write it, we want everyone to read it.
  • Leave out the self-promotion. Yes, you want everyone to know about your cool project. But let your work speak for itself.
  • If your blog post is about a development within a project, please ensure that you have cleared the content with all the relevant people.

Images

  • We’ll need at least one image to go with your article. If it is more than 500 words, then at least two. Sound clips and videos are also welcome.
  • Examples of such images are screenshots, project or organisation logos, event or group work photos etc. If you are unsure what image to use or cannot find an appropriate one, you could also use creative commons attributed image e.g. from Europeana or Wikimedia Commons. Please be aware that we can only publish images on our blog that are either out of copyright, or under at least a CC BY-SA licence.
  • Provide the appropriate attribution for the provided media files. For example: ‘Image: Vinos y Finos : Sanlucar de Barrameda, [1920-1925] Biblioteca Valenciana Digital (Public domain).’
  • If you are unsure about this please do not hesitate to ask.

Publishing

We want to get your article out there while it is still relevant. So please take the deadlines seriously. However, if you know that theres going to be a delay, please let us know as soon as possible. And likewise, we sometimes have to postpone the publication of articles due to external factors.

Dissemination

Once your blog post is published, we will disseminate it on Twitter and sometimes through our newsletters or the Allez Culture Facebook group if relevant. If you are on Twitter, please do retweet once the blog link is out there. And if your blog is part of a campaign, please share the Twitter handle/ hashtags with us.

A series of blogs by Wiebe de Jager, Marketing Manager at Europeana

#1: Links, texts, images & attribution

Think a moment about the main aim of using Facebook in your cultural heritage institution. You probably want to reach as many people as possible and tell them about your news, or showcase highlights and hidden gems from your collections.

If maximising your reach is indeed your main goal, it’s very important to keep in mind that the length and ‘interestingness’ of your updates greatly influences the reach of each message you post. In other words: short messages with a clear call to action, accompanied by an interesting image will be seen by more people than long, text-only posts.

Be to the point

Facebook uses an advanced newsfeed algorithm that determines what is shown in its users’ timelines. Posts that generate lots of engagement right after posting (ie. people liking or sharing the update) have a higher chance of being shown in someone’s newsfeed. Therefore it’s best to keep the text in your updates as short as possible. Make each post relevant to your audience by studying the results of earlier posts and adapt your messages accordingly. And write like a human being, not like an institution.

Some studies suggest that Facebook posts with just 40 characters (less than this sentence!) receive 86% more engagement than posts with a higher character count. Want to say more? Then write a more extensive post on your blog and link to it. Be to the point and supress the urge to provide too much context in your social media updates.

Another factor that greatly influences the reach of your updates is timeliness. Facebook has been changing its algorithm, boosting posts that are somehow related to trending topics.

Europeana CC BY-SA

This post on the fall of the Berlin Wall for example (with the hashtag #BerlinWall25 both in the text and in the image) got more than 259 likes and reached nearly 13,000 people. Compare that to an update about Rembrandt’s self-portraits, posted just a couple of days later: this update only reached about 2,000 people, and got 49 likes.

Call to action

Try to include not more than one ‘call to action’ in each update: people have to make decisions all day long, so adding more decisions can result in them not taking any action at all. Make the call to action short and clear, and make sure that you put the call to action in the beginning of your message.

Oh, and please don’t put #too #many #hashtags #in #your #Facebook #message; in a sense, they’re calls to actions too, diluting your main call to action. And it doesn’t increase the readability of your message either. One or two hashtags like #Onthisday or thematic hashtags such as #WW1 or #Picasso will do, ‘connecting’ your update to those from other people and institutions.

A typical status update by Europeana – one image, short explanation, one hashtag and a call to action. Europeana CC BY-SA

Say it with pictures

At Europeana, we often say that images are the currency of the web. It is estimated that a post with a picture gets 120% more engagement and 84% more link clicks than a post without. For us, surfacing interesting images from our partners’ collections via social media is one of the most important purposes of our social media activities, as our aim is to highlight the most interesting items in existing and new collections.

We identify images that have the most viral potential using the S.P.E.E.D criteria (more about this in the next blog post) and publish those on Facebook at regular intervals. We only use openly licensed images, ie. images that are in the public domain or have a creative commons licence. We attribute the creator, the image provider and we provide a link to the source of the image. We want the images we share to speak for themselves, so we don’t use low resolution or watermarked images.

Each update contains an image attribution and link to the source. Europeana CC BY-SA

We have evidence that by surfacing just one interesting image, traffic to a specific collection can increase by over 57,000 percent. We will tell you more about that in a forthcoming white paper about our collaboration with Retronaut.

Remember, on social media, your content is the star of the show, not you. Keep that in mind while composing updates. Always try to think from your target audience’s perspective, and make yourself stand out from the noise.

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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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