Europeana reopened


While this may already be old news to some, I have not seen any articles at least this side of the Atlantic about the reopening of one of the most ambitious digitization projects in history: the Europeana.

The origin of the Europeana is truly unifying: “The idea for Europeana came from a letter to the Presidency of Council and to the Commission on 28 April 2005. Six Heads of State and Government suggested the creation of a virtual European library, aiming to make Europe’s cultural and scientific resources accessible for all.” Not only is this new resource a great information resource portal, but one of its lofty goals is the enablement of new business models: “The European Commission’s goal for Europeana is to make European information resources easier to use in an online environment. It will build on Europe’s rich heritage, combining multicultural and multilingual environments with technological advances and new business models.” The types of long-term benefits of the project, of course, remain to be seen. Given how long the current poor economic climate lasts we should cross our fingers for continued funding of this and other projects like it.


According to press reports, the Europeana had been opened about a month ago on Nov. 20, 2008, amid great fanfare, announcing a new open source library. It promptly crashed due to the high demand on its servers: 10 million hits per hour. What is of great interest to translators as well as other language enthusiasts and what makes this project even more ambitious is the fact that at the time of this writing it is available in 25 languages, as there are:

  1. Bulgarian (bul)
  2. Catalan
  3. Czech (cze/cse)
  4. Danish (dan)
  5. Dutch (dut)
  6. English (eng)
  7. Estonian (est)
  8. Finnish (fin)
  9. French (fre)
  10. German (deu)
  11. Greek (ell/gre)
  12. Hungarian (hun)
  13. Icelandic (ice)
  14. Irish (gle)
  15. Italian (ita)
  16. Latvian (lav)
  17. Lithuanian (lit)
  18. Norwegian (nor)
  19. Polish (pol)
  20. Portuguese (por)
  21. Romanian (rom)
  22. Slovak (slo)
  23. Slovenian (slv)
  24. Spanish (esp)
  25. Swedish (sve/swe)

Keep in mind that the site is still tagged as in beta, caveat emptor, but I encourage you to check it out in your language. The development preview of the Europeana and further information is still available at

Other Projects

Contrast this project with the US-based Perseus Digital Library project at Tufts University near Boston, Massachusetts. Although featuring only a quarter of the number of languages of the Europeana, Perseus dynamically connects 100 million words linked to by 30 million links, not shabby by any standard. More on that in another post.

Do you know of any other, similar project which might be of interest to your fellow readers? Share it in the comments! Here is one to get you started: Google’s Library Project – more on that in yet another post.


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