img. Kirschblüten | Weimar, Wilhelm from Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg via Europeana, CC0.
Europeana is a trusted digital library dedicated to European cultural heritage. It showcases digital cultural collections from over 3.000 content providers in Europe, with nearly 60 million records potentially to be screened by citizens, students, researchers, culture lovers, creative industry. It is a big challenge to achieve that each of these million records is findable and meaningful for the users. Along the course of time (Europeana operates for a decade now!), we realized how important was metadata quality to ensure that users can find and enjoy the objects of their interest. The Europeana engine and APIs are very sophisticated but of course it is the quality of the provided content that is key to its retrieval.
Aggregators like Photoconsortium who collaborate with Europeana support the importance of rich and detailed information to be attached to digital objects, and advocate the need for high quality representations with as much open access as possible. The Europeana Publishing Framework offers guidance in understanding the requirements for records to be included in the portal and how their properties allow for different levels of visibility. These levels (= tiers) are curently 4, and there is a big effort ongoing to improve the content that is available via Europeana from tier 1 (very small images) to higher quality. Photoconsortium like other aggregators helps content providers in improving the quality and openness of their records and acts for problem solving where needed.
Here, few examples from Europeana that are very interesting. Most of them can already be considered best practice – with further improvement even possible!
1. a lovely flowery image, 1200 px size and free reuse. Although a bit of English language would help, this is a best practice example of Europeana tier 4 from the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.
2. a very nice photograph from National Documentation Centre EKT. It is in copyright, therefore the reuse must be agreed with the content provider. But, Greek language only is a bit of a limit in the users’ search!
3. great photo in public domain from Photoconsortium Lithuanian member LAM. A bit of English would help!
4. good effort from Photoconsortium member Promoter to provide description in double language. The image, size 1.300 px, complies to Europeana tier 3.
5. a nice solution from Topfoto with a small, non invasive watermark for a photo that is in copyright.
6. best practice example of tier 2 record, from Photoconsortium member United Archives: good resolution image, no watermark, clear rights statement and meaningful metadata.
7. a beautiful cyanotype from CRDI/Ajuntament de Girona. Again a very very good tier 3 record with keywords and concepts linked to the Getty/AAT vocabulary.
8. super top example from KU Leuven. Very high resolution image (ca. 3.000 px), rich metadata, free reuse. This is a best practice for Europeana tier 4.
Records tier 2 and above are eligibile to be part of the Europeana thematic collections, and to be included in beautiful virtual exhibitions like this one “Tricks of the trade” curated by Photoconsortium. Enjoy!