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2 minutes to read Posted on Monday June 2, 2014

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Outcomes from Europeana Aggregator Forum in the Hague

On 22-23 May 2014, the Annual Aggregator Forum was organised again at the Royal Library in the Hague. During these two days, over 35 representatives from 24 countries joined to discuss the future of Europeana and the aggregation landscape. They also discussed how Europeana can work in partnership with aggregators to add mutual value, and experiences and use cases. Read about the event.

A picture of the aggregators together in a room
Aggregators event 2014
Europeana Foundation
The Netherlands

The event started with a number of presentations about the current status of Europeana, and where we will be heading as a network-driven organisation. After a round of introductions, deputy director Harry Verwayen gave an update about the strategic plans of Europeana going forward to 2020. One thing is clear and that is that the world has radically changed since Europeana was founded in 2008. In the average person’s pocket sits a device that is far more powerful than the desktop computers we used a few decades ago, and technology keeps improving in exponential ways. This also requires cultural institutions to move forward quickly in order to stay relevant for the user. Europeana wants to help the sector in this process by providing a platform of knowledge, a network and a set of standards and tools.

Europeana advisor Els Jacobs continued with a summary of the current funding situation and how this will look in the future. The ICT-PSP programme from the European Commission that funded a lot of Europeana-related projects has come to an end and the situation for the next five years will look quite different. 

The largest part of the forum was not filled with plenary presentations, but three rounds with a total of 6 workshops where participants could choose their topic and engage in the discussion.

Metadata Quality

Marie-Claire Dangerfield presented the results of the metadata quality task force that produced some good results in the last two months. With the data providers, we reviewed what good quality actually means and why good quality data is important to make the most out of connecting it with other datasets from institutions all over Europe. Find out more about the Metadata Quality Task Force.

Aggregation workflow

Dimitra Atsidis worked with the participants through the aggregation workflow of Europeana and worked together with them to find out how this can be improved. The workshop offered room for many questions and the opportunity to put issues on the table. 

Intellectual Property Rights

Julia Fallon used her drawing skills to illustrate the experiences of the aggregators while helping the institutions with the correct labelling of their material. For many cultural institutions, it is hard to allocate dedicated resources to rights clearance and especially smaller and mid-size institutions do not have a legal expert as part of their staff. Europeana and the aggregators can help here by providing guidance to pick the right license and highlight benefits to opening up a collection. Here, case studies that aggregators bring to the institutions are very much appreciated.

Value with partners

I presented the strategy to provide more value to aggregators and data providers. This presentation also tied in with the discussion about metadata quality. What do institutions get in return when they put effort into making available higher quality data and content? In an open discussion, the aggregators could indicate what they would see as added value and why. One thing that clearly came out of this workshop is the need for examples and case studies where institutions benefited from opening up their collection. For this reason, Europeana aims to publish a number of papers on this topic in the coming months.

Content re-use

Jill Cousins worked with the participants on the first requirements of a content re-use policy. Europeana and the cultural heritage sector are connecting and collaborating more and more with all kinds of users such as scholars and creative industries. These user groups have different kinds of requirements when looking for content online. A certain degree of quality is required for them to do something meaningful with it. At the same time, institutions are hesitant to make this material openly available online. Europeana will therefore work to show the benefits for both the users as well as the institutions to open up collections of high quality content and how to do this in the best possible way.

Europeana Cloud

Alastair Dunning from the European Library ran a workshop on the Europeana Cloud project. The main goal of this workshop was to find out how the cloud project could support the work of the aggregators and where they could foresee issues. Aggregators see much benefit in Europeana Cloud, particularly in terms of storage, making the workflow easier and the 'publish once, disseminate many times' model it underpins. At the moment, much more information is required on the costs and the data access policy. The project will work on answering these question in the coming period. 

It was great to have all these people from a wide variety of partners in one room to work on common issues and decide how to move the European digital cultural heritage landscape forward. All discussions, notes and outcomes will be taken into account when deciding on Europeana’s aggregation strategy going forward. We would like to thank everybody for attending and look forward to working with each other in the next couple of years.