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Posted on Thursday December 4, 2014

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Europeana Semantic Elements Documentation

Most providers are now providing data using our standard format, EDM, but there are a few who, for historic reasons, still provide the former format, ESE. We are working to help them make the transition to EDM.

The ESE specification and guidelines can be found at the bottom of this page.

Default mapping

ESE is a subset of EDM and can therefore be mapped directly to it. All data that was originally provided in ESE has been migrated to EDM using the default mapping shown below. Any data still delivered as ESE is also transformed to EDM using this mapping but it is recognised that this does not always give the best results. Other possibilities are given after the table.

ESE element

Property of Aggregation

Property of ProvidedCHO

















All the remaining Dublin Core properties are mapped to the corresponding Dublin Core property in the edm:ProvidedCHO. They are therefore properties of the source cultural heritage object.

dc:contributor, dc:coverage, dc:creator, dc:date, dc:description, dc:format, dc:identifier, dc:language, dc:publisher, dc:relation, dc:source, dc:subject, dc:title, dc:type, dcterms:alternative, dcterms:spatial, dcterms:extent, dcterms:temporal, dcterms:medium, dcterms:created, dcterms:provenance, dcterms:issued, dcterms:conformsTo, dcterms:hasFormat, dcterms:isFormatOf, dcterms:hasVersion, dcterms:isVersionOf, dcterms:hasPart, dcterms:isPartOf, dcterms:isReferencedBy, dcterms:references, dcterms:isReplacedBy, dcterms:replaces dcterms:isRequiredBy, dcterms:requires dcterms:tableOfContents.

This default mapping will make ESE data conformant to EDM but at only a minimal level.

ESE is a flat model and metadata about the original object, its web representation and the aggregation are undifferentiated in the element set. EDM enforces the separation of data about these different entities but we cannot automatically tell which property belongs to which class. The default mapping makes some broad assumptions about where the data should go. These decisions may well be sub-optimal for any particular collection of data.

For example, dcterms:created may be the date of creation of the original object or the date of digitisation; dc:format may be the format of the original object or the file format of the digital representation.

Providers are free to examine the results of the mapping in the portal and provide a better mapping if they wish to do so. There are three options:

1. Accept the default mapping

The default mapping will be applied to all ESE data. You do not have to do anything further but the interpretation of the data may be sub-optimal. This is not recommended.

2. Create a new ESE mapping

Keeping the default mapping in mind you can re-map your source data to ESE to ensure that the transformation produces a better result.

For example: if the dc:date in your ESE data refers to the digitisation date of a web resource it will be incorrect because, in this mapping, dc:date is mapped to the edm:ProvidedCHO. This means you should change the data to give a date related to the original object.

You will have to create a new mapping from your source metadata, transform the data into ESE again and schedule a re-harvest from Europeana following the usual procedure. Europeana will then apply the default mapping again.

This is not the recommended approach as the improvements will probably only be small. If you are considering re-mapping your data it would be better to map it directly to EDM.

3. Create a mapping to EDM

There are two options for mapping to EDM:

  • Minimal - using only the source data elements that you originally used to create the ESE data, you can re-map directly to EDM choosing exactly which data to apply to which class.
  • Richer - where there is rich source data available, you can create a mapping based on a more extensive set of elements than was possible with ESE. Mapping to EDM directly allows you to take advantage of its greater sophistication to provide an optimised representation of your source data.

Find out more about EDM.