This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By clicking or navigating the site you agree to allow our collection of information through cookies. More info

Posted on Thursday January 15, 2015

Updated on Tuesday December 12, 2023

Glossary of Terms

In this glossary you can find formal definitions of terms used frequently by the Europeana Initiative and across Europeana’s frameworks.

Some of these terms have a legal definition that is used in agreements that form the Europeana Licensing Framework. Where this applies, the legal definition is provided with additional clarification as required.

Initial capital letters are used here to show terms that are defined elsewhere in the glossary. When used in normal text, the only terms that should be capitalised are: Data Exchange Agreement, Europeana Data Model, Europeana Licensing Framework, Europeana Semantic Elements and Linked Open Data.


Access: the ability to view a Digital Object or Metadata that is available online. 

Activities: the actual or planned actions undertaken by the organisation in order to achieve their organisational goals.

Aggregator: an organisation working with cultural institutions and collectors to gather authentic, trustworthy and robust data. They make this content available to a broader audience via their own services, Europeana, and other infrastructures, for example, for education and research. 

Breakout rooms: isolated sessions that are split off from a main event.

Capacity building: the process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organisations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in a fast-changing world. 

Carbon footprint: the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organisation, service, place or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (definition drawn from Wikipedia).

Change Pathway: an impact tool to connect the activities and outputs of an organisation with the outcomes experienced by the stakeholder.

Common European data space for cultural heritage: the flagship initiative of the European Commission to accelerate the digital transformation of Europe’s cultural sector, and foster the creation and reuse of content in the cultural and creative sectors. The deployment of the common European data space for cultural heritage is funded under the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) of the European Union. 

Conference: an event that can last one or more days and consists of different event formats and sessions. 

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF): a key EU funding instrument which promoted growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level, under which the Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI) was financed from January 2015 to August 2022. 

Content: a physical or Digital Object that is part of Europe's cultural and/or scientific heritage, typically held by a Data Provider or by a data provider of the Data Partner. 

Copyright office hours: an informal, unrecorded event in which participants share thoughts and engage in discussions about practical questions in relation to copyright and digital cultural heritage. A moderator and a special guest with expertise on the topic at hand lead the session, but all participants are given the equal right to participate.

Core Service Platform: a term previously used to refer to the set of services including  aggregation infrastructure, the Europeana website, Europeana APIs, interoperability services and capacity-building efforts, which were operated as part of the Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure.

Collections: The overarching term for the digital cultural heritage material and related information made available via, or for subsets of that material which relates to a particular subject.

Cultural Heritage Object: The original object that is the focus of the Metadata description. It may be either a physical object (painting, book, etc.) or a digital original.

Data collection: the process of gathering and measuring information in a systematic way (definition drawn from Wikipedia).

Data Exchange Agreement: the agreement that governs the exchange of data  between Europeana and its Data Partners.

Data Partner: an organisation that contributes Metadata describing Content that it is offering online. Note: This should be used instead of Data/Content Provider or Provider.

Dataset: an administrative unit representing a suitable amount of data for ingestion.

Data statistics dashboard: a tool that supports cultural heritage professionals in their work by giving detailed information about the live data in It allows users to filter and compare this information to fit their needs. 

Data space: decentralised and standard-based infrastructure to enable trustworthy data sharing between the data space participants. Data spaces may be purpose- or sector-specific, or cross-sectoral. Common European data spaces are a subset of data spaces within the scope of EU policies.

Data space infrastructure: technical infrastructure underlying the common European data space for cultural heritage. It consists of four main digital products: the Europeana website, Europeana Pro website, APIs, and aggregation systems. Underlying all of these products is the infrastructure to host, monitor, and recover systems.

Data space services and products: services and products that are used to deploy the common European data space for cultural heritage that are built upon the data space infrastructure. They include the Europeana website, Europeana Pro website, APIs, and aggregation systems; Europeana frameworks and standards which enable the digital transformation of the cultural heritage sector; capacity building resources that facilitate the provision and reuse of high quality data; and services which support audience engagement with digital cultural heritage.

Data space supporting projects: projects which facilitate digital transformation and capacity building of the cultural heritage sector within the common European data space for cultural heritage.

Digital carbon footprint: the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by digital services or activities, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.

Digital Europe Programme (DEP): an EU funding programme supporting projects in the following key capacity areas:  supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, advanced digital skills, and ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society, under which the common European data space for cultural heritage is funded.

Digital transformation: 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. Explore this definition.

Digital Object: a digital representation of an object that is part of Europe's cultural and/or scientific heritage. The Digital Object can also be the original object when born digital.

Economic Impact: the results of activities delivering economic benefits to society, stakeholders or to the organisation.

Editathon (sometimes written edit-a-thon): an event where editors of online communities such as Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap (also as a ‘mapathon’), edit and improve a specific topic or type of content.

Enrichment: data about a cultural heritage object (i.e. metadata) or of the object itself (i.e. content) that augments, contextualises or rectifies the authoritative data made available by cultural heritage institutions. An enrichment of metadata aims to improve it by adding new, or refining or rectifying information about the object, while content enrichments aim to produce alternative representations in various media types of the object.

Enrichment effort: refers to an activity or workflow run by an organisation and/or project that either leads to new enrichments or the development of tools for producing or reviewing enrichments. It may reflect manual, crowdsourced, user-assisted/semi-automated or fully automated processes that contribute to the production and/or review of enrichments.

Enrichment validation methodology: a methodology used for determining the validity of enrichments when assessed against predetermined criteria.

    Europeana Aggregators’ Forum: a network of national, domain and thematic aggregators who support cultural institutions providing data and content which is made available through Europeana. 

    Europeana APIs (Application Programming Interface): a range of services which offer remote discovery and access to the data that is made available on the Europeana website, allowing its use in projects, applications and websites. 

    Europeana Café: an informal, unrecorded networking event in which a specific topic is discussed without specific goals or outcomes. Participants are given the equal right to participate.

    Europeana Capacity Building Framework: this framework  harmonises the types of capacity building activities undertaken across the Europeana Initiative. It improves the method used to refine and develop these activities, and evaluates the way in which capacity building is used to support key products and services developed by the Europeana Initiative. 

    Europeana Data Model (EDM): the data model developed by the Europeana Initiative that specifies the format of the Metadata that can be submitted, ingested and published via the Europeana website and Europeana API. 

    Europeana DS Consortium: The Europeana DS consortium, led by the Europeana Foundation, deploys the common European data space for cultural heritage under a service contract with the European Commission (funded by the European Union’s Digital Europe Programme, contract number LC-01901432). It consists of 19 partners from nine European countries. A full list of project partners can be seen here.

    Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI): the infrastructure that provided the key services of the Europeana Initiative in the period between January 2015 and August 2022 (incl. DSI, DSI-2, DSI-3, DSI-4).

    Europeana Events toolkit: an online resource developed by the Europeana Foundation which shares good practices and guidelines for organising events.

    Europeana Framework: structures the Europeana Initiative’s approach to understanding and addressing a problem, opportunity or area of work. A Europeana Framework consists of the structure bringing together a strategic proposition, core elements, and products and services for implementation support.

    Europeana Foundation: an independent, non-profit organisation that, as part of the Europeana Initiative, stewards the common Europeana data space for cultural heritage in collaboration with a consortium of 18 partners from nine EU countries and contributes to other digital initiatives that put cultural heritage to good use in the world.

    Europeana Impact Framework (EIF): this framework sets out how the Europeana Initiative, led by the Europeana Foundation, applies an impact assessment approach to our work. 

    Europeana Initiative: a term used to capture the collaborative work undertaken by the Europeana Foundation and its consortium partners, along with the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum and the Europeana Network Association.  

    Europeana Licensing Framework (ELF): a group of elements that standardise and harmonise  the rights-related information of Metadata and Content available via Europeana.

    Europeana Network Association: a strong and democratic community with a mission to expand and improve access to Europe’s digital cultural heritage. 

    Europeana Network Association communities: special interest communities, in which Europeana Network Association members work together to exchange knowledge, expertise and best practice.

    Europeana Pro: Europeana Pro is one of the main digital products of the common European data space for cultural heritage. It supports the cultural sector in the provision of interoperable digital cultural heritage. It reflects the Europeana Initiative’s key messages, values and goals while raising awareness of and providing access to relevant information and tools, such as frameworks, API documentation and rights statements. Europeana Pro is also the platform to connect with our various communities, for ENA members to discover other international professionals in the sector, and for learning, knowledge and expertise transfer.

    Europeana Publishing Framework (EPF): this framework makes it easy for Europeana’s data partners to see how the quality of the Metadata and Content they provide affects how Europeana can surface, showcase and promote it. 

    Europeana Semantic Elements (ESE): the first Metadata standard developed by the Europeana Initiative, now superseded by the Europeana Data Model.

    Europeana Strategy 2020 - 2025: the direction of travel for the Europeana Initiative, set by the European Commission and the DCHE, including the high-level priorities for the period 2020-2025.

    Europeana website: the Europeana website ( is one of the main digital products of the common European data space of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage data shared with the Europeana Initiative through its network of aggregators is made publicly available on the Europeana website, giving educators, researchers, culture lovers and people everywhere the opportunity to explore Europe’s cultural heritage.

    Evaluation: the process of judging or calculating the quality, importance, effectiveness or value of something (definition drawn from the Cambridge Dictionary). Evaluation is usually part of an impact assessment approach and evaluation can be conducted separately from impact assessment.

    Event types: different formats for events. Examples are webinars, round table sessions and ignite talks. 

    Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana (DCHE): a former forum for cooperation on digitisation, conservation and preservation of cultural heritage between the European Commission, Member States and UNESCO between 2017 and 2021. The group reviewed and discussed policies for digital cultural heritage and the Europeana Initiative and assisted the European Commission in monitoring progress and assessing the impact of the implementation of the European Commission Recommendation on digitising and digital preservation and related Council Conclusions. The expert group is succeeded by  the Expert Group on a common European Data Space for  Cultural Heritage (CEDCHE). Find out more.

    Expert Group on a common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage (CEDCHE): a group launched by the European Commission in November 2021, succeeding the former DCHE Expert Group and is a forum for cooperation on digitisation, conservation and preservation of cultural heritage between the European Commission, Member States and UNESCO. The group reviews and discusses policies for digital cultural heritage and the common European data space, contributes with advice and helps monitor the implementation of the Recommendation on a common European data space for cultural heritage adopted on 10 November 2021. The CEDCHE Group has an indefinite mandate which is determined by the Digital Europe Programme. The 27 EU Member States have each appointed representatives to take part in the group, with UNESCO as observer. Find out more.

    Features: A term used on to denote a manually created browse page that presents related stories and galleries on a particular subject. For example Colouring Books, and Black History. 

    Freely Reusable Content: digital Objects that are available for reuse with minimal or no conditions, specifically those objects labelled Public Domain, CC0, CC-BY and CC-BY-SA.

    Generic Services projects: projects that supported the digital transformation of cultural heritage institutions. Generic Services projects were funded under the CEF Telecom  -  Connecting Europe Facility Programme (2014-2020) of the European Union through grants. Project proposals were submitted by consortia composed of a minimum of three organisations based in three different Member States and/or EEA countries. 

    Governance of cultural heritage data: processes and practices conducted to regulate, harmonise and standardise the creation, preservation, collection, access to and use of data on the basis of various organisational tools, principles and standards. 

    Hackathon: a competitive event which can take the form of a marathon or sprint. It involves computer programmers, software engineers and related professionals/students collaborating and/or competing on software projects.

    Hybrid event: an event that combines onsite and online elements, tailored to each audience for optimal experiences.

    Ignite talks: short presentations (around minutes) with limited interaction possibilities with the audience.

    Ingestion: the process of collecting, transforming, enriching, normalising and publishing the data from the Data Partner to Europeana.

    Intended Learning Outcomes: these define what a learner will have acquired and will be able to do upon successfully completing a specific training session or training course. Intended Learning Outcomes are expressed from the learners’ perspective and are measurable, achievable and assessable.

    Impact: changes that occur for stakeholders or in society as a result of activities (for which the organisation is accountable).

    Impact narration: the process of telling the story of the impact created through  activities. 

    Impact assessment: a research activity to understand if  activities lead or contribute to the changes (short and long-term outcomes, impact) designed for stakeholders. 

    Impact Design: the documentation of the key elements taken from the design phase (Phase one) of the Impact Playbook. This relates to either designing an impactful activity and/or its impact assessment. 

    Impact Playbook: the primary resource, methodology and tool of the Europeana Impact Framework (EIF). The Impact Playbook is in four stages: design, measurement, narration and evaluation. 

    Impact Toolkit: resources and tools developed in the Europeana Impact Framework (EIF), including the Impact Playbook and its complementary resources. 

    Indicator: a metric that indicates if and to what extent a programme or activity is contributing towards the anticipated outcomes.

    Innovation Impact: the results of activities that represent or enable innovation.

    Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): Intellectual Property Rights including, but not limited to copyrights, related (or neighbouring) rights and database rights.

    Interoperability (in Information Technology): the ability of computer systems and/or software applications to exchange (technical interoperability) and automatically interpret (semantic interoperability) the information exchanged meaningfully and accurately in order to produce useful results as defined by the end users of both systems.

      Item: Term used on to denote a piece of heritage that is available via A search returns a number of ‘items’ which consist of digital representations of a piece of a physical object or multiple physical objects, with one technical record ID. See also Digital Object.

      Linked Open Data: published, structured data that allows it to be connected and enriched, so that different representations of the same resources can be found, and links made between related resources.

      Measurements: the way we determine the quantity, dimensions or amount of the impact of our activities.

      Metadata Mapping: an expression of rules to convert structured data from one format or model to another, such as EDM.

      Metadata: the textual information and hyperlinks that serve to identify, discover, interpret and/or manage Content. Note: This is a general term used to describe any element of Metadata.

      Metadata Field: a single element of a Metadata Record describing the Digital Object. e.g.: 'edm:Provider' is the Metadata Field that is used to describe the Aggregator of the digital object.

      Metadata Record: the information that makes up an entry in Europeana, typically comprising  a title, description and other information about a Digital Object.

      Network analysis: the analysis of social structures in terms of nodes (those people or objects under investigation) and the links (the connections between them). The findings are most often represented in a sociogram. 

      Object: see Digital Object

      Operational Impact: the results of  activities that have led to an improvement or refinement of internal processes to the organisation delivering the activities.

      Outcome: an actual or intended change experienced by the stakeholder through their engagement with (an organisation’s) activities.

      Outputs: the tangible, quantifiable and measurable products and services delivered by activities.

      Panel discussion: a moderator-led event where several speakers discuss a pre-defined topic. 

      Parallel sessions: events that take place simultaneously. 

      Physical event: an event where people gather physically to one location to participate in the event.

      Plenary events: events where all participants are in the same room, sharing the same experience, either physically or virtually.

      Policy office hours: an informal, unrecorded event in which participants engage in discussions about a specific policy area related to copyright and digital cultural heritage. Participants are given the equal right to participate.

      Presentation: activity where someone describes, shows or explains something to a group of people.

      Preview: a reduced size or length audio and/or visual representation of Content, in the form of one or more images, text files, audio files and/or moving image files.

      Problem Statement: a brief description of the problem that the activities of the organisation seek to address.

      Public Domain: Content, Metadata or other subject matter not protected by Intellectual Property Rights and/or subject to a waiver of Intellectual Property Rights.

      Roundtable: an event where a specific topic, with communicated intended outcomes, is being discussed by a limited group of people with the goal to reach a shared conclusion. 

      Record: this term is occasionally used as a short-hand means of referring to the package of data about one cultural heritage object. It is recognised that it is not a term generally employed in technical documentation, and is not used on

      Reuse: the ability to make use of a Digital Object or Metadata that is available online, through the acts of sharing, copying, researching, displaying, modifying or publishing.

      Rights Statement: a statement that describes the conditions for Access and Reuse of Digital Objects and their Thumbnails. In the term Rights Statement encompasses Creative Commons Licences, Creative Commons Tools and Rights Statements by Rights statements are communicated via the ‘edm:rights' Metadata Field as defined by the Europeana Data Model.

      Screenplay: a structured list of actions needed to deliver a workshop or complete a task described in the Europeana Impact Playbook.

      Social Impact: the result of activities that lead to stakeholders and wider society being affected and changed in a beneficial fashion.

      Stakeholder: a person, group, community, or organisation expected to experience a change (that is, to benefit in some way from an organisation’s work). In the impact design phase, activities and impact assessments are designed around stakeholders. 

      Stories: Term used on to denote manually-created / curated blogs and exhibitions.

      Sub-group of the Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana (DCHE): the sub-group was established to provide the DCHE and the European Commission with advice on the Europeana Initiative's general objectives, governance, strategic priorities, evolution and sustainability. The sub-group had 12 members: eight members appointed following an open call for applications and four members appointed by nominations of Member States.

      Subgroup of the Expert Group on the Common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage (CEDCHE): the sub group was established in February 2023 with the remit to give strategic advice to the CEDCHE and the European Commission on the strategic direction of the data space for cultural heritage. The subgroup has 16 members and include: six experts, two organisation representatives and eight Member State representatives. 

      Task Force: a short-term collaborative working method used throughout the Europeana Initiative, to help solve specific issues and challenges affecting the digital heritage field.

      Themes: A term used on to denote a curated subset of collections and related stories, based on a common broad subject, for example Art, Maps and Geography, Music or Industrial Heritage. As of March 2023, there are 13 themes. 

      Thumbnail: a reduced and/or low resolution version of the Digital Object, normally limited by pixel dimensions, commonly used as the basis of the Preview.

      Tier: A measurement of the quality of a Digital Object and its Metadata, based on criteria set out in the Europeana Publishing Framework. There are three tiers relating to metadata quality and four relating to content quality.

      Topics: A term used on to denote an automatically generated subset of collections based on a common and specialised subject (based on people, centuries, places, organisations etc), for example Painting, Ancient Rome, BMX or Woodworking. There are thousands of topics. 

      Training: an activity of teaching someone a new skill, competency or knowledge with established, communicated and validated intentional learning outcomes.

      Training course: multiple Training sessions in a particular field or profession. 

      Training session: a single event where people gather for Training purposes.

      Training resource: a document that can be used for training activities. This can be a web page, text document, video, presentation, quiz, etc or a combination of these. 

      Transcribathon: an event in which the public is engaged in transcribing, annotating and georeferencing Europeana’s collection of digitised items - particularly handwritten materials - amassed from libraries, archives and museums from all across Europe. 

      User or End-user: a person or entity making use of the services offered by the common European data space for cultural heritage, including through the Europeana website, Europeana API, third party services or social networks.

      Visitor: a natural or legal person who visits the website, including Users when they are not using the service.

      Webinar: an event where one speaker or a small group of speakers present with limited audience interaction. 

      Workshop: a participatory event with clear outcomes and can be used as a formal training session. A workshop is led by a facilitator and supported with instructional material and/or equipment. 

      Working Group: a collaborative working method used throughout the Europeana Initiative to address ongoing activities and issues of continuing relevance within the Europeana Network Association and the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum.