Meet the Members Council: Georgia Angelaki
The National Library of Greece (NLG) is undergoing a major transformation. After having been in a dormant state for two decades for various reasons, it is now moving to a new majestic home at the seaside of Athens thanks to a 600 millions Euros donation by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This architectural gem is designed by the renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, and will house the National Opera together with the National Library in a 210.000m2 cultural park. A destination worth visiting on the first opportunity!
The National Library of Greece ©SNF-Yiorgis Yerolymbos
Transitioning to open principles
As part of this transition project, I am coordinating the development of the NLG’s digital services. The national web archive, a new digital repository, a new website, a digital legal deposit platform, a new libraries’ union catalogue and a platform for lending e-books are some of the most important digital projects currently running in the context of this transition. With 40 projects in total, this shift aims to modernise the library services towards 21st century standards within a very short space of time.
Under the far-seeing support of the Library’s Director General, Mr Filippos Tsimpoglou, we have been able to integrate the full stack of ‘open principles’ in the design of the digital services, and in particular of the digital repository: open architecture and protocols, open software, open data and open content. We tried to ensure sustainability of the service and maximum reusability of the content for the benefit of all users. These principles would probably have been out of the picture if Europeana hadn’t been a catalyst for participatory digital culture among cultural heritage institutions.
The National Library of Greece ©SNFCC-Nikos Karanikolas
My love story with Europeana
I’ve worked with many of you through Europeana. I consider myself a proper ‘Europeana kid’ and I can’t help being emotional when I speak about Europeana... I was in the first discussions when a name was sought for the new pilot service, I witnessed the initial collapse when it was first presented to the Council of Ministers of Culture in Brussels, following an unexpected high traffic at the launch of the portal, and I left when 20 millions of data records were released under a CC0 license for the public to use freely… a true revolution in digital culture.
And in between, what a journey! Over the six years that I worked for Europeana, I was involved in or I managed over 20 European projects, and I followed innovations in every aspect of digital culture. I saw the introduction of new standards making culture more discoverable, usable and interconnected like EDM and IIIF. I participated in the development of the tools to reinforce Open Culture, such as the Public Domain Mark, and in campaigns to engage users with culture, including Europeana 1914-1918, the GLAM-wiki hackathons and the edit-a-thons.
More importantly, I saw a movement of museums, libraries and archives that celebrate open participation in culture grow from a few dozens to a few thousands. This movement is made of highly knowledgeable people who work with skill and passion on technology, standards, law and sustainability, in order to make this happen. I feel very lucky to be part of this movement and I think that we owe a lot to Europeana for having provided a home for us all, the digital cultural heritage commoners.