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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday June 25, 2024

Updated on Tuesday June 25, 2024

portrait of Lorena Aldana

Lorena Aldana

Head of External Relations and Advocacy , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Milena Popova

Milena Popova

Programme & Business Development Manager , Europeana Foundation

ECHOES consortium selected to create the European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage

The Europeana Initiative is delighted to be represented in the consortium creating the Collaborative European Cloud for Cultural Heritage, with the Europeana Foundation as full partner and the Europeana Network Association as affiliated partner, together with 49 other European partners.

In the distance, dramatic mountains and a cloudy sky. In the foreground, a sketch of a city scape.
Johann Nepomuk Höchle (Künstler_in)

A Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage

In June 2022, the European Commission announced the creation of the Collaborative European Cloud for Cultural Heritage. The Collaborative Cloud will develop a digital infrastructure aimed specifically at heritage professionals, scientists and researchers to access advanced digitisation tools and services for conservation and preservation.

Funded under the Horizon Europe program, the creation of the Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage has been allocated an ambitious budget of €110 million until 2025 Two calls for proposals were launched in 2023, with additional calls planned for 2024 and 2025.

The ECHOES project

The European Cloud for Heritage OpEn Science (ECHOES) project, led by CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) won the Horizon Europe 2023 call to develop the core infrastructure and governance model of the European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage. ECHOES has been awarded €24 million for five years of work (2024 – 2029).

For the ECHOES project, CNRS, together with CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche) and FSP (Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine), has formed a consortium of 51 European partners, including the Europeana Foundation as full partner and the Europeana Network Association as affiliated partner. Other consortium partners include research organisations, networks representing cultural heritage communities (museums, libraries, archives), universities and private sector entities.

As a pilot project, ECHOES aspires to create the infrastructure and the legal entity for the Cloud in collaboration with and for the cultural heritage communities. ECHOES promotes a holistic approach to digital transformation, encouraging the co-construction of knowledge.

ECHOES will foster the emergence of Digital Commons: a digital environment to collectively analyse and enrich cultural heritage objects, facts and phenomena, where actors —human or AI— can construct their own interpretations and thus contribute to the joint construction of knowledge. The notion of Digital Commons is anchored on the principles of Open Access and Open Science. It encourages participation by all, cooperative work and systematic sharing of knowledge and tools.

Thanks to a transparent governance approach and the application of open science principles, ECHOES will also integrate other European and national projects within the Cloud.

The role of the Europeana Initiative in ECHOES

The Europeana Initiative is formally represented in the consortium by the Europeana Foundation and the Europeana Network Association, who will represent the joint interest and common vision of the Europeana Initiative. Together, we will also ensure collaboration and complementarity between the Collaborative Cloud and common European data space for cultural heritage.

As a full partner, the Europeana Foundation brings more than 15 years of expertise empowering the cultural heritage sector in its digital transformation to the ECHOES consortium, as well as our experience as the steward of the data space.

The Foundation will participate in all project activities, but will notably lead capacity building, training and knowledge transfer efforts. We will contribute to building and enhancing the Cloud community, and making relevant links with communities across the Europeana Initiative and data space. We will provide our expertise in areas including data standards, interoperability of data, integration of tools and services, the set up of the technical infrastructure and the Cloud’s governance and sustainability.

As an affiliated partner, the Europeana Network Association - with 5,000 members, including many heritage professionals - will contribute to community mapping and outreach, as well as to the development and delivery of capacity building efforts.

The data space and the Collaborative Cloud

The common European data space for cultural heritage and the Collaborative European Cloud for Cultural Heritage, while distinct, complement each other, especially in terms of data-sharing, tools and services, and capacity building.

The data space is the main entry point for accessing and reusing heritage data by educators, creatives, citizens and other data spaces. The Cloud is a collaborative workspace for heritage professionals to access data, tools and services to advance heritage science. Thanks to interoperable frameworks, data from the data space will flow securely to the Cloud for professionals to work with, while research outputs and data products generated in the Cloud will be accessible through the data space for reuse within and across sectors. To enable exchange, their tools and services will be based on Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) principles.

The data space and the Cloud will also join forces to support capacity building in the sector, fostering a more inclusive, sustainable and unified digital heritage environment.

Find out more

Follow Europeana Pro news to follow the development of the common European data space for cultural heritage, and updates on our work around the Collaborative Cloud.