Posted on Thursday January 15, 2015

Updated on Monday February 21, 2022

Glossary of Terms

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

These include: 

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. 

Conference: an event that can last one to multiple days and consist of the different event types. 

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.

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF): the EU infrastructure programme supporting the establishment of transport, energy and digital infrastructures, under which the Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure is financed from 2014 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 where 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: part of a Digital Service Infrastructure (funded through procurement), enabling trans-European connectivity and interoperability. For Europeana, this means the set of services that includes the aggregation infrastructure, the collections website, the APIs, interoperability services and capacity-building efforts that enable the digital transformation of the cultural heritage sector.

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 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 Europeana. It allows users to filter and compare this information to fit their needs. 

Delegate: a person in representation of their group or company.

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

Digital Europe Programme (DEP): the EU infrastructure programme focused on building the strategic digital capacities of the EU, under which the Europeana Core Service will be co-financed from September 2022.

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.

Environmental impact: generally referred to as the negative impact caused to the environment (e.g. through carbon emissions from travel) directly or indirectly due to an activity. It may also include positive impact, if changes are made that have a positive effect on the environment.

Editathon (sometimes 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. 

Europeana Aggregators’ Forum: a network of national, domain and thematic aggregators who support cultural institutions providing data and content to 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 where a specific topic is being discussed without specific goals or outcomes. Participants are given the equal right to participate.

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

Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI): the infrastructure that provides the key services of Europeana. DSIs are composed of ‘Core Service Platforms’ and ‘Generic Services’ which link national infrastructures to the Core Service Platforms.

Europeana Foundation: an independent, non-profit organisation that operates the Europeana platform and contributes to other digital initiatives that put cultural heritage to good use in the world. Europeana Foundation is the operator and leader of the consortium that delivers the Europeana Core Service. 

Europeana Initiative: a term used to capture the entirety of the work that the Europeana Foundation (the operator) and partners, the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum and the Europeana Network Association do to deliver the Core Service according to the Europeana strategy. 

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, where Europeana Network Association members work together to exchange knowledge, expertise and best practice.

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

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

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 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 upcoming initiative for a common European data space. Furthermore, the expert group will contribute with advice and will help monitor the implementation of the Recommendation on a common European data space for cultural heritage adopted on 10 November 2021. The expert group succeeds the Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana (DCHE). Find out more.

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 aimed at supporting the Core Service Platform. Generic Services are financed through grants. Proposals may be submitted by consortia composed of a minimum of three organisations based in three different Member States and/or EEA countries participating in the CEF programme.

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.

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.

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. 

Open mic session: an event where anybody is welcomed to take the stage to present, discuss or perform.

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.

Policy office hours: an informal, unrecorded event where 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.

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.

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. 

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. 

Sub-group of the Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana (DCHE): the sub-group provides the DCHE with advice on certain aspects of the Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure, such as Europeana’s general objectives, governance, strategic priorities, evolution and sustainability. The sub-group on Europeana has 12 members: eight members appointed following an open call for applications and four members appointed by nominations of Member States.

Task Force: an instrument used throughout the Europeana Initiative designed to help solve specific issues and challenges affecting the digital heritage field in a short term.

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 scenario for sharing collections with Europeana, based on what Data Partners want and are able to provide. For every tier there is a set of requirements that the data need to adhere to.

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 Europeana 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: an instrument used throughout the Europeana Initiative to address ongoing activities and issues of continuing relevance within the Europeana Network Association and the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum.