2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday September 29, 2021

Updated on Friday December 3, 2021

Europeana DSI-4 Annual Report 2020-2021

The Europeana Digital Service Infrastructure (DSI) showcases and provides online access to Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage through the Europeana website and supports cultural heritage institutions as they adapt to this digital age. Explore the annual report for 2020-2021.


The impact of the pandemic on our working lives, which began with great shock and disruption, has begun to even out and become our new normal. We’ve seen the importance of digital for the cultural heritage sector grow but also the widening of the digital divide. We are not all born-digital equal and there is now a greater need than ever to empower the sector to embrace, manage and benefit from digital change. 

We thank Europeana Foundation staff, our partners and friends in the Europeana Network Association, the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum and all of the projects we are part of across the sector for their continued dedication and hard work.

What is Europeana DSI-4? 

The European Union is working to create the infrastructure that will support its citizens, sectors and public administrations in their access to digital services. It is building ‘digital bridges’ through what it calls Digital Service Infrastructures  (DSIs), to provide access to those services for the benefit of all.  Europeana is the DSI that delivers services to showcase and provide online access to Europe’s digital cultural heritage.

The Europeana service is provided by a consortium of 21 partners, coordinated by the Europeana Foundation, and is funded under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Europeana DSI-4 is the current project.

Explore significant highlights from the third year of DSI-4 (September 2020 - August 2021) below.

Culture’s role in our changing world

Through our work, Europeana strives to give more people more agency to do more things with digital culture - to share more, to share better and to reap the rewards of doing so. 

Running through all of this work is a very real and practical acknowledgement that the sociopolitical landscape in which we operate is changing, and that we share the growing sense of responsibility in areas such as diversity and inclusivity and climate action. The impact of these issues informs every decision we make, no matter what the area of work. They are topics under discussion in relation to the European Commission's New European Bauhaus, as well as in-house across all our teams and communities, and we are pleased to be including them across our work. 

Priority #1: Strengthen the infrastructure

Our strategy says: ‘The Europeana Initiative will invest in supporting innovation activities that keep the infrastructure aligned with state-of-the-art tech.’

Improving Europeana DSI’s main services and functionality focuses on an easy and rewarding data publishing process, a satisfying Europeana website experience for our audiences, and a reliable and high-performing platform infrastructure. Engagement activities for our audiences help them to discover Europeana’s digital cultural content.

Highlights this year

Behind the scenes: Improvements to the aggregation infrastructure added new data enrichment sources to improve quality and multilingual coverage, while other developments give our aggregators greater power to contribute and improve collections faster. 

On the Europeana website: A new create-your-own gallery feature allows people to favourite, curate and share the treasures they find. New ‘Stories’ and ‘Features’ pages, along with exhibitions in multiple languages, translations of more than 300 on-screen texts, and improvements to the search facility, attract and retain new audiences by making the material more accessible to more people. And editorial work brings our audience closer to the collections by focussing on diverse themes around, for example, Women’s History Month, Black History Month and LGBTQ+.

And beyond: Improved API services make it easier for developers to create new apps, games and services with Europeana content, while partnerships such as GIF IT UP and the Digital Storytelling Festival reach cultural enthusiasts across the world. Our educational challenge #ReinventingBeethoven invited teachers to encourage students to be creative with cultural heritage resources. An interactive handbook for education, ‘Digital Learning in the Pandemic’, presents 24 learning resources to help educators overcome future challenges of online and blended learning.

Priority #1: Strengthen the infrastructure
Bauer Sándor, fényképész

Priority #2: Improve data quality

Our strategy says: ‘The Europeana Initiative will invest resources in activities related to metadata and content improvement. It will use new technologies like machine-learning algorithms to enrich metadata records.’

Increasing high-quality content and metadata improves access to and reusability of digital cultural content. Combined with new technological approaches for enriching data, such as crowdsourcing and machine-learning, these efforts contribute to a more satisfying user experience on the Europeana website.

Highlights this year:

Setting solid foundations: Building closer relationships with both active and inactive aggregators has resulted in more direct links to digital objects and far fewer broken links, with more data moving up the tiers of the Europeana Publishing Framework - our quality scale. And the launch of the Aggregator User Group and additional training opportunities bring us closer together, improving our feedback processes and knowledge-sharing.

To new frontiers: A focus on innovation saw a challenge give financial support for the development of three large datasets to which artificial intelligence and machine-learning enrichments can be applied. This creates greater value for both institutions and audiences. A Task Force, a Europeana Pro News series and a webinar series all explored the opportunities and challenges of working with AI in the cultural heritage and arts sector, while more and more Europeana partners used crowdsourcing and machine-learning to enrich their metadata. 

Seeing the results: A revamped Statistics Dashboard gives an at-a-glance visualisation of the status of collections, for example, by country, rights statements or where they sit on our quality scale, showing where there is room for improvement.

Priority #2: Improve data quality
Bueskyting på Ekebergsletta.
Oslo Museum

Priority #3: Build capacity

Our strategy says: ‘The Europeana Initiative will support institutions in their digital transformation. It will showcase the importance and added value of digitisation, adoption of standards, best practice and common solutions.’

Capacity building for digital transformation centres on nurturing our networks, and engaging professionals and partner organisations (both large and small) in rewarding events and training opportunities. In addition, supporting the adoption of Europeana standards and frameworks by national infrastructures reinforces the value that Europeana can deliver towards the transformation of the cultural heritage sector.

Highlights this year

Setting up a framework: The release of a definition of digital transformation for the cultural heritage sector and the first stage of a capacity-building framework mark significant steps in our capacity-building initiative, which will be measured in line with best practices derived from the Europeana Impact Framework.  Digital transformation was discussed at two European Presidency conferences, with the German event focussing on copyright, and Portugal event on capacity-building. 

Getting together: Our programme of online events, including Europeana 2020 - our first-ever online-only annual conference, the first Europeana Aggregators’ Fair and a Digital Spring Programme, brought thousands of professionals from across the globe together, attracting a wider audience and achieving better green credentials than the equivalent in-person events. These events strengthened a sense of community, provided inspiration for professional change and innovation, and shared knowledge or skills that can be applied in attendees’ own practice.

Practical resources: The Europeana Foundation, Europeana Network Association and Europeana Aggregators’ Forum strengthened their alignment by collaborating on common themes, often culminating in the publication on Europeana Pro of practical resources and examples of good practice. Examples include a a standardised question bank - a resource from the Europeana Impact Toolkit, good practice for digital storytelling from Europeana Communicators, funding opportunities from Europeana Research and a webinar series from Europeana Copyright.

Priority #3: Build capacity
Ada Smolnikar, poročena Bešter (orodna telovadka, olimpijka)
Občinska knjižnica Jesenice