Meeting together as a Forum
The Europeana Aggregators’ Forum (EAF) advocates for and coordinates the activities required to make data from cultural heritage organisations throughout Europe available through Europeana. In May, the aggregators who make up the Forum joined our regular biannual meeting. It was fantastic to see 83 participants from 21 countries come together for two days to discuss the Forum's governance and explore new opportunities relevant to sharing the wealth of Europe’s cultural heritage.
At the meeting, we announced the election of our new Steering Group members: Nicole Emmenegger (Beeld & Geluid, representing EUscreen as an audiovisual aggregator and Digitale Collectie, the Dutch national aggregator) and Marié-Veronique Leroi (French Ministry of Culture, representing Moteur Collections), who was elected as Chair. Kerstin Herlt (DFF - German Film Institute & Film Museum, representing the European Film Gateway) was elected Vice-Chair. On behalf of the EAF, the outgoing members and Chair, Marco Rendina and Sara Di Giorgio, welcome the new Steering Group members, and the new Steering Group give a huge thanks to Marco and Sara for all their work on behalf of the Forum!
At the meeting we also approved the accreditation of two new aggregators for Cyprus and Estonia, the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture and Estonian e-Repository and Conservation of Collections. The new aggregators will offer new opportunities for cultural heritage institutions in these countries to share data through trusted partners, and hopefully bring more collections to Europeana.
Together with the Europeana Foundation, the Forum then spent time exploring the opportunities presented by the European Commission's Recovery and Resilience Fund and the activities being undertaken that support the development of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) across the Europeana Initiative. The second day of the Forum is always dedicated to building capacity and knowledge among aggregators on a specific topic, and this spring the focus was on artificial intelligence. Aggregators explored a number of tools and practices which could support the improvement of metadata quality and multilingual access in cultural heritage collections, and heard from leaders in this topic from within the Forum. Find out more about AI and the cultural heritage sector on Europeana Pro news.
Sharing our work through the Europeana Aggregators’ Fair
While the Forum’s meeting in May was organised only for Europeana’s accredited aggregators, in June we were delighted to bring our knowledge to wider audiences through the first ever Europeana Aggregators’ Fair! Organised with the Europeana Foundation, this event was an opportunity to throw open our virtual doors and share our work, expertise and activities through a diverse programme of panels, presentations and lightning talks.
We were delighted to see participants from around the world join the Fair, which kicked off with a positive and inspiring panel discussion around audience engagement with cultural heritage collections. There was a consensus that while the pandemic had forced institutions to focus on enhancing the digital visibility and accessibility of spaces, there is still more that can be done to support access to, and engagement with, online collections. A quick poll revealed that the majority of participants believed that community engagement activities like crowdsourcing campaigns, collection days and pop up exhibitions would be a key way to do this in the future. The importance of investment and action to enable access to collections was a theme which continued into the parallel sessions of the day, which covered topics from archaeology to audiovisual archives!
The second day of the Fair explored a similarly wide range of topics, beginning with a panel on capacity building for aggregators. We discussed the distinctions between capacity building for organisations and capability building for individuals, focusing on the importance of training and personal development alongside sharing common goals across our network. A further key theme which emerged in this panel discussion - and continued to feature in later parallel sessions - was collaboration. As noted by speaker Maja Drabczyk, Project manager at the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute in Poland, this theme also seemed to be reflected by the event itself.
She said, ‘To me, every opportunity that creates space for us - the community - to share our experiences, exchange knowledge and to network is of great value. And this is exactly what the Fair has offered to us all over the past two days. We have witnessed how much we can learn from one another and that this impressive mix of skills and competences can lead to amazing new collaborations. And we should use these, we need to remain connected, create synergies between our work. Also to show the general value and impact of our actions as aggregators.’
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Fair!
Find out more
Recordings of the panel discussions and sessions from the Europeana Aggregators Fair are available to watch on Europeana Pro! And if you would like to find out more about sharing data with Europeana through the Aggregators’ Forum, visit our Share your data page.