Europe puts its cultural treasures online

Europeana, a new digital library of Europe’s cultural treasures (including literature, art, history, music, and cinema) launched today with over 2 million items from over 1000 institutions (museums, national libraries, archives, and galleries) from 27 European Union countries.

The “About Us” page has information about the project, a list of participating institutions (including the Louvre and the British Library), and details about the kinds of items that have been digitized and are available on the site:

  • Images – paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects
  • Texts – books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
  • Sounds – music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
  • Videos – films, newsreels and TV broadcasts

This website is a prototype, with plans to launch the full version in 2010 with over 6 million digital items.  I suspect their servers are currently overwhelmed, as I haven’t yet been able to successfully complete a search, but I look forward to exploring the site over time.

Update: According to news reports, the Europeana website crashed after receiving an unexpected 10 million user requests per hour, so the site will be out of commission until mid-December.

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