2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday January 5, 2022

Updated on Wednesday January 5, 2022

portrait of Dasha Moskalenko

Dasha Moskalenko

Manager Service Experience , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Mirjam Verloop

Mirjam Verloop

Senior Front-End Developer , Europeana Foundation

What’s new on the Europeana website? September - December 2021

We are constantly working to improve the Europeana website and add new features which allow people to explore Europe’s cultural heritage. In the first of what will be a quarterly series, we highlight some recently released features.

Icons showing the Europeana logo, globe, institution and 'ES'
Title: New releases Europeana website
Date: 2021
Institution: Europeana Foundation
Country: Netherlands
CC BY-SA

Cultural heritage items in every European language

Our website gives people access to millions of cultural heritage items, which are displayed as provided by our partner institutions in their native language. At the end of October, we released a translation feature on each individual page showing a collection item. This  feature enables people to translate information about the item (its metadata) into one of 24 European languages - you can see the feature in the screenshot below. 

Screenshot of an item page ('Bruder Wernher') with option to view the item in a different language at the top.
Title: Screenshot of an item page ('Bruder Wernher') with option to view the item in a different language at the top.
Date: 1305-1340
Institution: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Universitätsbibliothek
Country: Germany
Public Domain
Screenshot of an item page ('Bruder Wernher') with option to view the item in a different language at the top.

This feature works by pulling translations from three different sources in a defined order of priority. When a person requests a translation of the item’s metadata, the system checks if the provider of that item (the cultural heritage institution), shared additional metadata in that language. If so, then we show that translation. If not, we check if a partner or project provided the translation as an enrichment. If so, we show that enrichment. If not, we default to showing the automated translation, which is powered by the Google Translate API. Since the automated translation by Google is a paid service, we cap it after a set amount of translations per day, after which, the automated translation stops working for that day. 

For example, let’s assume that someone is looking at an item provided by an institution in the Dutch language. They also speak Spanish, so they decide to switch to Spanish. However, the metadata isn’t provided in Spanish by the institution, nor is it found in the enrichment; therefore, we will show the automated translation of the metadata. 

We have chosen to use Google Translate for quality and the range of languages it covers, until a non-commercial service can provide comparable quality and completeness of translations. 

Browse collections of specific organisations

When visiting our website, people can now browse collections from specific organisations. This was partially possible before using the search filters, but we were encouraged by our aggregators to also explore a more visual and curated approach that emphasises our close collaboration with our data partners. The result is a dedicated page for each partner institution or organisation that we work with. 

This means that if someone was looking for all the items shared by their national library, they would be able to find a page dedicated to the library. One way to get to these pages is through an overview page containing a list of all organisations. Find out more about our new organisation pages.

Augmented Spanish search results

Since the beginning of December, audiences who browse the website in the Spanish language have been able to search and see results in both Spanish and English seamlessly. When someone enters a Spanish query in the search bar on the Spanish version of the Europeana website, we translate the query into English in the background. We then use the English query to find search results in both languages. The results presented to the person searching are therefore a mixture of Spanish and English. This allows people to find more accurate and augmented results. 

So, for example, if you search for 'flower' in English, you will see results with the word 'flower' in the metadata (in the original metadata or the existing multilingual enrichments provided to us as mentioned above, which can have only partial coverage). That means that you will mostly get English results because the search functionality is looking for a direct match. Now on the Spanish version of the website, we introduced a change that surfaces both the direct matches of the Spanish search query and the English matches. So if you search for 'casa,' you will get results matching the word 'casa' and English results with the word 'home' because on the Spanish version of the website you are now searching across languages.

We limited the work to the Spanish version of the website for this first iteration to test and iterate on this solution before we proceed with rolling this out across the website. 

This quarter in numbers

From September to the end of December 2021, the Europeana website had just over 2 million visits, 4.3 million page views, and 3.2 million unique page views, reflecting engagement and interest in the cultural heritage shown through the Europeana website from audiences across Europe. In addition, we recorded almost 58,000 item downloads.

The three most-liked items were Monna Lisa e smiles (provided by Associazione culturale GoTellGo), Male Mandarin Duck (provided by Finnish National Gallery) and Pferdestudie zu "Erzherzog Karl mit seinem Stab in der Schlacht bei Aspern" (provided by Austrian Gallery Belvedere). 

Find out more

In March 2020, we launched the current version of the Europeana website. Now that all the features that were on what we called 'the classic website' have now been incorporated on the current website, we've retired the classic version as of 20 December 2021.

We will share more updates on new features in the coming year through Europeana Pro news. In the meantime, explore the Europeana website and enjoy the newly released features. 

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