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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday August 9, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Eirini Kaldeli

Eirini Kaldeli

Senior Researcher , National Technical University of Athens

CRAFTED project shares collections, tells stories and develops tools to highlight crafts heritage

The recently completed CRAFTED project enriched and promoted tangible crafts heritage and preserved intangible knowledge from craftsmen and artisans. Discover what the project achieved and how cultural heritage professionals can use the resources it developed.

Five soldiers on horseback holding sabers
CASANOVA François (1727-1802)
Mobilier National

Crafts offer a living expression of the traditions and beliefs of cultural communities around the world, expressed in tangible objects such as jewellery, textiles, furniture and more. The techniques required to create these objects itself is a form of cultural heritage, requiring preservation as much as the objects themselves.

It is both this tangible and intangible cultural heritage which the CRAFTED project has worked to enrich, preserve and promote, with many inspiring outcomes. It ran between September 2021 and June 2023, and was a Generic Service project funded under CEF Telecom programme.

New content on

During the project, 28 cultural heritage institutions (including museums, universities, sound and video archives, research centres, theatres and galleries) from seven European countries contributed new items from their collections to, many of them for the first time. At the end of the project, around 170,000 new items, including images, videos, sound records and a few items in 3D have been documented and published. Some of the content was digitised during the project.

The items include a range of tangible and intangible crafts heritage which fall under the project’s broad themes. These included fashion and textiles (like costumes and accessories); traditional crafts and their reappropriation by contemporary users (from household utensils to musical instruments); and analogue media production (including the equipment, technologies and processes used to make television).

Data providers also identified numerous cultural heritage items on crafts heritage already published on and improved and upgraded them to open licences, making them available for reuse.

Inspiring editorials

Throughout the project, CRAFTED partners raised awareness about craft heritage and artisanship by publishing and promoting editorials on and other platforms. In total, CRAFTED partners published 23 blogs, 10 galleries and three online exhibitions, which are collected into a Making Culture page on A Youtube playlist also gathers together the more than 30 videos that were published during the project, featuring artisan heritage from five European countries (Greece, the Netherlands, France, Croatia, and Italy). The editorials cover craft heritage through a diverse range of topics: pottery, lace making, analogue photography, glassblowing, weaving, jewellery crafting and more.

In total, CRAFTED editorials were viewed over 60,000 times during the runtime of the project, and have created a robust oeuvre of work around artisan heritage in Europe.

Portrait of Nico Solimano in his workshop, weaving a basket
Portrait of Nico Solimano in his workshop
Nico Solimano
Portrait of Nico Solimano in his workshop, weaving a basket

Social media engagement

November 2022 was dubbed #CraftingHeritage month by the CRAFTED partners, and was filled with promotion of editorials about artisan culture. During #CraftingHeritage Month, the Europeana Foundation also hosted its annual #GIFITUP competition and a dedicated CRAFTED inspiration collection was created for participants to use in their gif making challenge. A winner was nominated for the Crafts category and a special page on Giphy was created for all GIFs that were entered in the Crafts category. These GIFs have been viewed and shared tens of thousands of times since the GIF IT UP contest in 2022.

Methodology and tools to support automatic enrichment and human validation

The CRAFTED project also had a technical aspect. Taking craft heritage as a case study, the project defined, implemented and tested a methodology that combines automatic enrichment tools with human validation to improve the quality of cultural heritage metadata at scale.

CRAFTED project partners made use of various tools that analyse the content and textual metadata of cultural heritage items to extract useful information and exploit it to enrich their metadata. They analysed craft-related items in a number of different ways, including analysis of textual metadata and raw text to link terms (URIs) with vocabularies and knowledge bases; colour and object detection on images; optical character recognition; and speech to text analysis.

Given that automatic results do not always meet the quality standards set by data providers, validation by humans was indispensable. As part of the project, cultural heritage professionals and broader audiences were invited to inspect a selected sample of the automatic annotations with appropriately designed validation tools. In line with the methodology advocated by the project, the validation results were further analysed to calculate metrics, such as precision, recall, and word index error rates, and to establish filtering rules.

This ensured that only the high-quality enrichments were published on, improving the searchability and reusability of the respective cultural heritage items. Overall, more than 100,000 records were enriched with about 500,000 high-quality annotations, in accordance with the quality criteria established by the methodology.

Through working on this methodology, the CRAFTED project established, extended and used the following enrichment and validation toolsL

  • The SAGE tool for the semantic linking of textual data

  • A toolset for image and video analysis which supports various enrichment workflows

  • The CrowdHeritage crowdsourcing platform, used for validating the results of colour recognition in various collections (consult a Wiki with instructions and this manual about how the platform can be used in an educational environment)

All tools are made available under open-source licenses so that they can be reused by any interested cultural heritage organisation that wishes to automatically enrich its collections.

Looking to the future

The CRAFTED project may have finished but its legacy lives on. Crafts heritage, in its multiple manifestations, has proven to be a vibrant and accessible type of living heritage that has the potential to actively engage broader audiences in a creative and participatory way. The multifaceted outputs of the project - in the form of items on, editorials, videos, educational material and tools - constitute valuable resources that can be further exploited in various contexts. The technical tools used and evaluated in CRAFTED will be extended in the AI4Europeana project, as part of an AI toolset that aims to make state-of-the-art technology more accessible and usable for cultural heritage organisations.

If you want to discover the editorial created during the CRAFTED project, explore the Making Culture page. If you'd like to start working with the enrichment and validation tools to improve the metadata of your own cultural heritage collections, head over to CrowdHeritage or to the SAGE wiki, to start learning how to use these tools.