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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday September 26, 2017

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Nicole McNeilly

Nicole McNeilly

Impact Advisor , Europeana Foundation

Introducing the Rise of Literacy Generic Services project: digitizing Europe’s textual heritage

Read about our kick off meeting to create text based collections

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Rise of Literacy Generic Services project kick off meeting

Written by Renata Šolar and Andraž Magajna

Between 18-19 September 2017, the 13 partners of the Rise of Literacy Generic Services project met at Europeana’s offices to discuss our project to create text-based collections to showcase our rich, pan-European history. Making these resources available online and for free, we aim to demonstrate the power of the written word and the impact literacy has had on Europe’s people and societies.

Broadening the open textual cultural heritage you can find on Europeana

This kick-off meeting brought together all partner institutions (full list below) for the first time since presenting their project proposal to the European Commission’s Generic Services call earlier this year. This initiative was designed to support collaboration around the digitization and enrichment of important cultural heritage, with the goal of making even more high quality and open digital cultural heritage available on Europeana.

To do this, the Rise of Literacy project proposes to digitize rich textual materials from all partners and enrich material already on Europeana. This new material includes medieval manuscripts from the 4th to 15th century, printed books from the early 16th century until the end of 19th century, and periodicals and newspapers from the 17th to the mid-20th century. The Rise of Literacy will also make use of rich textual material already on Europeana from other providers, where this meets quality criteria (e.g. Tier 2 content). If you have any collections that are relevant to this theme, let us know!

During the meeting, we brainstormed the best ways to promote this material to users. This includes high quality curated collections on Europeana Exhibitions, blogs and galleries that will draw the expertise of the project partners into one place. We discussed themes (like philosophy and propaganda), their target audiences, value propositions and anticipated reach. Europeana introduced their thematic collections and data publication strategies. Importantly, we also discussed how the partners could provide as much open content as possible that could be used by Europeana’s priority markets and in particular, by education and research.

Beginning is the most important part of the work (Plato)

We hope that you will be able to see the first outputs of our work on the Rise of Literacy in the Spring. Until then, have a lot of work to do. It has been said that no good ending can be expected in the absence of the right beginning. We’re happy to report that this was a great start, so we are looking forward to working together and in bringing Europe’s rich cultural heritage to the world. As David Petersen puts it, there is no such thing as a leap into literacy! Rise with us!

Alice's adventures in Wonderland

Alice's adventures in Wonderland. Català and Alícia en terra de meravelles. Lewis Carroll. 1927. Biblioteca de Catalunya, Spain. Public Domain marked.

For more information, get in touch with Renata Šolar and Andraž Magajna at the National and University Library of Slovenia.

Full list of partners

Coordinated by the Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica / National and University Library of Slovenia (NUK), and involving the following partners:

Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (BNP)

Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF)

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Opera del Vocabolario Italiano (CNR-OVI)

Ethniki Bibliothiki Ellados (EBE)

Europeana Foundation (EF)

Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle biblioteche italiane e per le informazioni bibliografiche (ICCU)

Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB)

Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka (LNB)

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales

Narodna biblioteka Srbije (NBS)

National Library of Scotland (NLS)

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SBB-PK)