Decentralised approaches to data sharing and aggregation, among others based on the SOLID protocol, are evoking growing and vivid interest from the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum (EAF) and, more broadly, the digital cultural heritage sector.
This Task Force will conduct a consultation within the EAF and with relevant external stakeholders. The goal is:
To familiarise aggregators (individually and as a forum) with the broad span of innovation on decentralisation (in heritage and other domains);
To reach out to other relevant business and technology stakeholders for information and knowledge;
To assess the feasibility of transitioning to decentralisation from the perspective of an aggregator;
To provide a report for future reference by the aggregators.
The Task Force will run a quick (three to four months), intensive, but broad consultation with several selected aggregators and stakeholders outside the EAF to study the feasibility of moving forward to decentralised aggregation.
The study will include the following high-level activities:
Knowledge gathering: Reach out to relevant and like-minded projects in the area of data spaces, initiatives and standardisation bodies in Europe (Gaia-X / International Data Spaces, Post-Platforms, SOLID, etc) for consultation and to obtain various perspectives on the task at hand. These consultations will also be looking at other technologies like blockchain-based solutions or the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) protocol.
Consultation with aggregators: Reach out to aggregators from the EAF as well as aggregators from other parts of the world (e.g. DPLA, Trove, UNESCO) for an in-depth conversation and consultation on decentralisation
Consultation with other stakeholders: Reach out to platforms, apps, collection management organisations, opinion leaders, strategic consultancies and universities to get insight into their perspectives on the adoption of a decentralised approach.
Alignment with existing strategies: Assess how the decentralised architecture can serve the goals of the aggregators themselves, might that be in their relationship with Europeana and the common European data space for cultural heritage or with regard to their own experience and strategic goals and try to clarify what it would take to integrate this approach in the national strategies defined in the context of the common European data space for cultural heritage.
Transition ideation: Broad thinking on the possible scenarios of transitioning to new aggregation architectures and coexistence of various aggregation schemes within the same (data) space.
The outcome of the consultation process will be a document accessible to a strategic, non-technical audience which will include the following:
High-level introduction into decentralised technologies presenting various approaches and initiatives with a specific focus on comparing a ‘classic’ Linked Data approach and a SOLID-based approach to the Data Space (complementing the work of ENA/EuropeanaTech’s Task Force on Linked Data).
Survey of the aggregation landscape from the perspective of decentralised aggregation: challenges and opportunities
State of the art and recommendations to Europeana and to the aggregators wishing to make the transition towards the data space