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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday November 28, 2013

Updated on Wednesday March 11, 2015

The Europeana Treasure Hunt

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By Vicky Garnett, Trinity College Dublin

We’ve all been there - sitting in a meeting staring at a 20-slide-long PowerPoint presentation, trying so hard to concentrate but quietly counting down the minutes until the coffee break.

Well, during the development of the first Europeana Cloud Expert Forum, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) devised a weapon against the Coffee-Break Countdown Syndrome: the Europeana Treasure Hunt!

Recognising that our participants probably wouldn’t have had time to take a good look at Europeana (or might not even have heard of it), we came up with a quick, simple, and hopefully entertaining way to allow everyone to get to know Europeana and some of its features.

The aim of the first Europeana Cloud Expert Forum was to evaluate Europeana in its current form, and to imagine case studies of what Europeana could be following the completion of the project. But it seemed unreasonable to ask people to discuss this without first giving them the opportunity to see Europeana.

Designing the Treasure Trail

Dublin Expert Forum, photo by Vicky Garnett

During the Expert Forum time was at a premium. The game took no more than 30 minutes including playing and feedback time. In order to see current features, all teams started by creating a My Europeana profile.

The game contained questions on using multiple search terms for the same event, such as the First World War. We found that different terms brought up different results - something for us to discuss later on in the day.

We knew that the disparity in metadata fields was an issue, so the second question offered players one point for every item they found in Europeana with 11 or more completed metadata fields.

Finally, working on the same principle as Googlewhacks, teams were asked to use the search function to try to find the most specific items they could, with the highest scores going to search terms of 2-5 words that could produce just one item. A search term that provided only one result was therefore deemed a Europeanawhack!

The game received much positive feedback from the participants.

Europeana Treasure Hunt 2.0

Amsterdam Expert Forum, photo by Agiati Benardou

Following the success of the game in Dublin - it was called for again in the second Expert Forum in Gothenberg (UGOT) in October 2013. This meeting had a slightly different remit to the first - identifying the content and tools that could be used in Europeana. So UGOT took the basic principles of the game and modified the questions so it focused on content types.

This version was also used in the Expert Forum in Amsterdam, again providing the same space for discussion among the players.

Europeana Treasure Hunt 3.0?

So where do we go from here? The game was designed as an ice-breaker but it has proven to be a useful tool for researchers unfamiliar with Europeana. Perhaps this could become a permanent feature of Europeana as a means to introduce new users to the portal?

Download the Europeana Treasure Hunt rules.
We'd love to hear your feedback - please email!