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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday November 4, 2014

How Europeana Cloud will address aggregators’ challenges and issues

Only once the data is in EDM format, can it be forwarded for inclusion in Europeana.

Europeana’s network of aggregators come from many different backgrounds. Some take a thematic approach (like Europeana Fashion), while others work from a national standpoint (such as Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek) or with certain sectors (like The European Library).

Despite their diverse range of roles and focus points, there is one task that is common to all Europeana aggregators: the harvesting of metadata from individual libraries, museums or archives (in many different formats) and the mapping of that data to the Europeana Data Model. Only once the data is in EDM format, can it be forwarded for inclusion in Europeana.

Europeana Cloud hopes to make this challenge easier, and for that reason the project has recently spent a few weeks conducting interviews with the aggregators that contribute data to Europeana.

The interviews explored the technical and strategic challenges the aggregators faced in performing this role. A longer presentation on the results of the interviews can be downloaded, and a summary is available below.

Our key findings were that:

  • Metadata mapping is a slow process, with too many steps, services and internal discussions;
  • Tools for ingestion and mapping are not as reliable as they could be and there are some worries about the availability of data;
  • Ingestion and mapping tools have poor usability and sometimes cannot be used without technical expertise;
  • Aggregators need the ability to curate (ingest, map, enrich) their data at greater speed;
  • Aggregators need better mechanisms for managing identifiers and authority files;
  • Many see possibilities for enrichment but do not have the tools for it;
  • The hosting of content (as opposed to data) is not an urgent problem for any aggregator but is becoming strategically important;
  • Problems with the restriction of metadata to CC0 are universal, however few rated it as an urgent problem

Europeana Cloud is now working to develop a set of products that respond to these aggregator needs.

In particular, the project will be working to see how improved services for the ingestion and mapping of data can be adapted to be made part of Europeana Cloud. Rather than each aggregator relying on separate tools, a more sustainable service could be established.

A set of product requirements will be published at the end of the year. This will form the basis for ongoing conversations with aggregators throughout 2015. Our aim is to make Europeana Cloud a service that aggregators can start using when the project ends in 2016.

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