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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday March 5, 2024

Updated on Tuesday March 5, 2024

portrait of Ad Pollé

Ad Pollé

Senior UGC Projects Coordinator , Europeana Foundation

Europeana Initiative launches national Country Groups pilot

Starting in 2024, a new pilot project brings together Europeana Network Association members, aggregators and other professionals to take the lead in national cooperation across the common European data space for cultural heritage. The pilot will run in Bulgaria, Italy, and Slovenia - discover how you can get involved!

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Pirih, Dušan
Občinska knjižnica Jesenice

Why is the Country Groups pilot being launched?

The Europeana Initiative wants to strengthen its effective engagement with, and support for, cultural heritage institutions within the Member States of the European Union. Our aim is to do this by working more directly with representatives operating within Member States, such as individuals within the Europeana Network Association and organisations (aggregators) within the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum.

We hope that this ‘bottom up’ approach of the Country Groups will complement the formal nature of Ministry engagement, further facilitating local professionals to advocate towards effective national strategies which enable a thriving data space.

For ENA members, the Country Groups will provide an opportunity to work more directly with the cultural heritage institutions holding and providing (data) collections to, supporting reuse, promotion and dissemination. For EAF members, Country Groups offer the chance to connect to new content providers as well as audiences.

We hope that Country Groups will further contribute to the dissemination and use of best practices, tools and services, and also result in multilingual activities and resources.

What is a Country Group?

A Country Group is a hub - a point of connection - for professionals from the cultural heritage and related sectors in an EU Member State. These professionals could be already connected in some way with the Europeana Initiative, or interested in supporting the Europeana Initiative’s mission and the development of the data space. Such hubs could evolve into a localised network or perhaps a community within the wider Europeana Initiative.

The key contribution of Country Groups consists of championing the data space and the value it offers both to those who contribute and those who make use of it. Country Groups’ activities will include organising local networking events or hosting webinars to present key outcomes from the Europeana Initiative in stakeholders’ native or local language(s). A core Country Group could be formed by as little as one representative of one aggregator and one ENA Members Councillor, but could potentially be of any size, involving supporters from related stakeholders to increase the impact of the data space. Country Groups aim to contribute to improved service offerings by institutions and more effective use of cultural heritage data by local and national communities.

Where are the first Country Groups based?

As a result of broad consultation with ENA and EAF members, pilot Country Groups have been established in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Italy. Each of these pilots has a dedicated webpage in the relevant language, and core leaders appointed to run them. Discover the details on the project page.

What will the Country Groups do?

The remit and scope of each Country group differs. Country Groups are currently in the process of defining their Activity Plans, describing goals, activities and audiences.

The goals of the Bulgarian Country group are to:

  • Increase awareness of developments in the data space among Bulgarian cultural heritage institutions and professionals, in order to increase engagement with the data space and the number of Bulgarian members engaged with ENA;

  • Address a key area of capacity building which can slow down development in digitisation - insufficient technological capacity across the heritage sector;

  • Support the Europeana Initiative to deliver more relevant content in Bulgarian.

The country Group for Italy will focus on the following goals:

  • Increase the number of Italian resources shared with Europeana by:
    • Reviewing the resources shared by the three main aggregators, and investigating and addressing issues to increase their number and quality;

    • Promoting a campaign to encourage small and medium institutions to share their resources;

    • Building a stronger connection with the Italian Ministry of Culture to make sharing metadata easier.

  • Spread the knowledge of Europeana Initiative, with a focus on the data space, by:
    • Setting up a series of events for different stakeholders;

    • Organising a final event with different stakeholders to present the results of the activities carried out during the year.

  • Promote the free reuse of digital content by:
    • Developing material to explain the value of the free reuse, with a focus on specific topics (i.e. copyright status);

    • Setting up working groups to produce guidelines and recommendations on specific topics (Copyright and 3D).

Slovenia’s Country Group aims to expand the national aggregation scheme to encompass all digitised cultural heritage and more. This will be done with a focus on the primary role and task entrusted by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture to the National and University Library as national aggregator. The aggregation of all digitised GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) content is the main vision for establishing the Slovenian national aggregator back in 2009. This will be done by:

  • Ensuring sustainable access to e-content in culture and science;

  • Providing public and easy access to Slovenian digital cultural heritage;

  • Encouraging the creation of e-content in public institutions and linking it to;

  • Accelerating the transfer of Slovenian cultural content into digital form;

  • Supporting the digitisation implementation strategy on a national level.

The running of each Country Group is based on the principle of self-organisation, enabling it to respond to national priorities and possibilities.

How long will the pilot run?

The Country Groups pilot project will run for 12 months, allowing for activities to be carried out from January to December 2024. The project activities will be evaluated and their impact assessed. Based on the outcomes of this, recommendations for a sustainable future of a Country Groups framework will be delivered.

How can I get involved?

Country groups are a collaborative effort. From helping with the dissemination efforts or the translation of key documentation to involvement in organising events, support and expertise from professionals like you is much appreciated.

If you are interested in being involved in the pilot Country Group activities, please get in touch with the Groups’ leaders:

If you are interested in finding out more about establishing a Country Group in your country please contact the project lead Ad Pollé via [email protected].