Building Digital Capacity

As COVID-19 changes and challenges the cultural heritage sector, the importance of building capacity for digital transformation is clearer than ever. We have developed a phased project to help us identify and shape a capacity building framework based on the needs of our sector. 

Step 1: Sensemaking Digital Transformation in the time of COVID-19

In June 2020 we launched a series of workshops that called upon our community to bring their perspective, experience and expertise together to identify new paths through - and beyond - the COVID-19 crisis for digital cultural heritage. Concurrently, we worked closely with independent charity Culture24 to produce a report to help develop a shared understanding of what building digital capacity in our sector really means. Explore a summary of the findings and the full reports below.

Building Digital Capacity: sense-making findings and outcomes
Title: A Vision for European Cultural Heritage 2025
Creator: Sebastiaan ter Burg
Date: May 2018, Bulgaria
Institution: Europeana Foundation
Country: The Netherlands

Building Digital Capacity: sense-making findings and outcomes

We’re delighted to share two complementary reports from our work on building digital capacity, which raise key questions and themes to further our understanding of what supporting digital capacity for the cultural heritage sector really means.

The digital transformation agenda and GLAMs - Culture24 findings and outcomes
Title: Europeana Strategy meeting “Migration and culture: how can our past educate our present”,
Creator: Sebastiaan ter Burg
Institution: Europeana Foundation

The digital transformation agenda and GLAMs - Culture24 findings and outcomes

Through this report, explore what is happening in our sector to support digital capacity, consider what terms like ‘digital transformation’ mean in practice for GLAM institutions and get a snapshot of digital capacity building initiatives in the sector.

Step 2: A definition of digital transformation

Building on our sense-making workshops and Culture24 report, we have worked with our peers, partners and Europeana Network Association members to agree a common definition of digital transformation that is relevant to the cultural heritage sector and our stakeholders. We will use the definition to help shape our future strategies and priorities, so that a cultural heritage sector powered by digital can contribute to a Europe powered by culture. Read the full definition, and explore it through our video, below. 


Digital transformation is both the process and the result of using digital technology to transform how an organisation operates and delivers value. It helps an organisation to thrive, fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its stakeholders. It enables cultural heritage institutions to contribute to the transformation of a sector powered by digital and a Europe powered by culture.

Full definition

Digital transformation is both the process and the result of using digital technology to transform how an organisation works. It helps an organisation to thrive, fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its stakeholders. 

Digital transformation can be driven by heritage professionals of any level - everyone can be an agent of change. It is not just about technology - it’s about mindsets and personal capabilities. 

The impact of digital transformation will be different for each individual organisation. Each change, no matter how small, contributes to a cultural heritage sector powered by digital and a Europe powered by culture. 

Europeana and digital transformation

Europeana’s focus is on digital transformation relating to the digital discovery of cultural heritage collections. This includes (but is not limited to) efforts that help cultural heritage institutions to develop their leadership and capacity for digital transformation, to strengthen infrastructure, improve interoperability, enrich data, share collections and engage with audiences. 

Europeana empowers the cultural heritage sector in its digital transformation - helping it to embrace digital change and encouraging partnerships that foster innovation. We lead with our specialist expertise when best-placed to do so and collaborate when that expertise lies in other networks.

Step 3: Training courses inventorisation

Complete our survey!

As part of our work on capacity building, we are exploring possibilities for a searchable index of capacity building related training courses for the cultural heritage sector. Have you or a colleague completed a course and training that supported your digital transformation? Do you work for an institution which offers training opportunities and/or courses that support cultural heritage professionals and/or institutions in their digital transformation? We would love to know their details - share them through the survey below. 

The training courses can be offered by institutions including cultural heritage institutions, universities, non-profits and commercial organisations and be on different levels, from strategic to practical. We are launching this survey to get a sense of the breadth of offers and to collect a first dataset for a searchable index. The survey does not have a closing date; a first analysis of responses will be made in August 2021. It will take about three minutes to complete through the form below. 

Would you like to share information about the training you suggest, or offer suggestions or questions about this survey? Please email Sebastiaan ter Burg (

Shared your training course and want to share another? Please scroll up to submit more examples through the form.

Step 4: Developing a capacity building framework

We are working to create a strategy and implement a framework that empowers, motivates and guides the development of capacity building through the cultural heritage sector. Find out more through the document below, which describes the strategy for building and implementing the Europeana Capacity Building Framework. It reflects work in progress and future plans, and describes the guiding principles that have been developed for the Framework.

Strengthening and supporting the process of identifying and developing capacity building efforts is our Thematic Agenda. This attempts to provide an overview of the planned work within the (greater) Europeana Initiative, according to themes and topics, in order to be able to establish a joint horizon and to identify synergies and complimentary work. Find out more through the document below.