All posts by Agnieszka Lewandowska

What’s up, Europeana? (part 4)

 Europeana logo
Earlier this week Europeana updated information about resources from digital libraries connected via the PIONIER DLF. We are happy to announce that the publications number has increased by more than 100 thousand since last update and it counts exactly 462 796 objects. Therefore, we decided to refresh the statistics on our data in Europeana compared to other countries and metadata providers (as for 2 February, 2011).

Data providers Objects number Share
Europeana 15,180,418 100.00%
1 Athena 1,794,755 11.82%
2 1,646,930 10.85%
3 The European Library 1,266,229 8.34%
4 Hispana 1,234,252 8.13%
5 Swedish Open Cultural Heritage 1,203,456 7.93%
6 Deutsche Fotothek 1,104,123 7.27%
7 Irish Manuscripts Commission 906,913 5.97%
8 Bibliothèque nationale de France 823,378 5.42%
9 ABM-utvikling 735,252 4.84%
10 Natinaal Archief 555,370 3.66%
11 CultureGrid 547,780 3.61%
12 Federacja Bibliotek Cyfrowych (PIONIER DLF) 462,796 3.05%
13 EFG – The European Film Gateway 328,056 2.16%
14 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek 321,290 2.12%
15 Scran 310,802 2.05%

The PIONIER Network Digital Libraries Federation (Federacja Bibliotek Cyfrowych in Polish) is the twelfth largest data provider (from about 100 currently). At present, PIONIER DLF provides data from 56 digital libraries, which have objects from hundreds of institutions of various types (libraries, archives, etc)  across Poland. As the country, Poland is ranked 10th with its 485 390 digital objects. This number is greater than the number of objects from PIONIER DLF, because more than 20,000 publications comes from the Polish National Library via The European Library project.

Country Objects number Share
Europeana 15,180,418 100.00%
1 France 2,626,362 17.30%
2 Germany 2,568,681 16.92%
3 Sweden 1,417,259 9.34%
4 Spain 1,293,029 8.52%
5 Italy 1,270,837 8.37%
6 Netherlands 1,153,212 7.60%
7 Ireland 945,330 6.23%
8 Norway 940,472 6.20%
9 United Kingdom 897,137 5.91%
10 Poland 485,390 3.20%
11 Europe 396,956 2.61%
12 Slovenia 211,595 1.39%
13 Belgium 210,147 1.38%
14 Finland 191,481 1.26%
15 Greece 172,935 1.14%

At the end it is worth to emphasize that it is hard to compare this type of statistics. The numbers are very sensitive to the nature of a single unit of description in Europeana. For example, some resources are created from a single page of a manuscript, while others are created from the whole manuscript. As the latter is a standard in the Polish digital libraries, it seems that we can be glad with the current results.

Older reports can be found here.

Polish tests of Europeana


As a part of the EuropeanaLocal project, Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center performed a series of tests of the Europeana portal with its potential end users in Poland. The tests were conducted in January this year.

Tests took place in the Greater Poland region: most in Poznań (twenty five), two in Swarzędz and one in Konin. There was 28 test sessions with 44 end users from diverse target groups (librarians, schoolchildren, tourist authorities, general users, etc.). Tests were performed in the presence of the moderator and lasted about 1 hour. The meeting scenario was quite advanced and consisted of the following parts:

  1. Introduction to the session aims.
  2. Completion of a pre-questionnaire gathering data on familiarity with Europeana and general online search experience.
  3. A short introduction of Europeana presented by a moderator, completion of basic tasks in Europeana portal.
  4. Discussion on the first impressions with a moderator.
  5. Completion of a questionnaire on the first impressions.
  6. Accomplishment of 7 tasks on the Europeana site.
  7. Discussion on deeper impression with a moderator.
  8. Completion of a questionnaire on deeper and lasting impressions.

The tests allowed to collect many valuable comments and gave the possibility to observe interesting users’ behaviour on the Europeana site (for example, while getting to know the portal or doing more advanced tasks, like searching by date).

Final tests report.

Results of events were processed and presented in the final report available at the PSNC Digital Libraries Team Repository site. The report was handed down for further analysis to the EuropeanaLocal project participants and will be the basis for the summary report from similar tests conducted all around the EU. We encourage you to take look at the document!

At the end we would like to thank all study participants for their efforts and valuable comments, especially workers of  Kórnik Library PAS, City Information Centre in Poznań, Tourist Information Centre in Poznań and the Poznań City Promotion Office.

Internet through humanist’s eye

In Warsaw, on the 7th of December, 2010 there was held a second seminar in the series of Computerization of Cultural Institutions – Cultural Institutions on the Internet. The objective was to demonstrate how cultural institutions can exist and promote themselves on the Internet, and going further, what are the benefits of their presence in the world wide web.

During this seminar Agnieszka Lewandowska from Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center presented Europeana project, the portal and data transfer possibilities to the Europeana via the EuropeanaLocal project. The presentation was focused on the description of Europeana and the benefits from connecting to it (increased visibility, promotion, interesting neighborhood, etc.). The model of connection to was presented as well as the possible paths for the Polish regional and local institutions. We hope that the result will be new institutions joining Europeana via EuropeanaLocal project and Digital Libraries Federation.

Among many lectures deserving attention, there was the speech of Tomasz Rodowicz, who talked about attracting internet users to the theater – “Theatre Online – or new media culture”. The speaker presented the method of drawing attention of internet users based on his own experience. He told about broadcasting the traditional theatrical performance (with a standard audience present) via the Internet, while the part of the scenery was a large screen displaying live comments of internet users. Thus forming a triangle of spectator-actor-net user, which all parties interacts with each other.

Mapa Kultury Portal

At the end we encourage you to have a look at two pages:

  • Map of Culture – “the first nationwide interactive portal to promote Polish culture in the regions co-creatred by the users”,
  • Platform Culture – “an interactive portal dedicated to culture and cultural education designed to informational exchange, presentation of interesting practices and projects from across the Polish and the activation of cultural backgrounds”.

Those two pages were presented during the seminar by Karolina Szczepanowska from Polish National Center of Culture.

Seminar on “Geovisualization of cultural heritage resources on the Internet”

A seminar “Geovisualization of cultural heritage resources on the Internet” took place on 7 September 2010 in Central Archives of Historical Records, Warsaw. The seminar presented the results of the research project “Methods of mapping movable monuments“, which was carried out by the Institute of Geodesy and Cartography and the Research and Academic Computer Network. The project focused on the presentation of movable monuments on the map in a new and attractive form for the user. The aim was to enable users to get to the objects descriptions and presentations using advanced navigation on the map, taking into account the characteristics of movable monuments.

Movable monuments on the map
Figure 1. Map of Polish cultural heritage.

Movable monuments were selected as a source object’s type. As the name suggests, movable monuments are  the objects that can easily change their geographical location. They include objects such as paintings, sculptures, etc. Typically, a description of such object contains a wide range of spatial references. They can be divided as follows:

  • places being a subject,
  • places of creation,
  • places of storage.

In the case of monuments, spatial reference is often associated with the old naming and administrative division. Therefore, the descriptions of movable monuments have been prepared by various experts, including archivists and historians.

Appropriate presentation was also the strand in the project. When a user searches a collection of spatial data, not only he is interested in a particular location, but also in a county, a region or a province. It was hence decided to present different levels of spatial information granularity on the map. In addition, the differences between spatial references’ types:

  • associated with the places being a subject,
  • being a place of creation,
  • being a place of storage

is shown in a clear,  eye-catching way.

Now there is a  showcase for the following resources:

From a technical standpoint, the following standards were used for the objects descriptions:

Furthermore, a created software is a mixture of free (for example: PostgreSQL + PostGIS) and commercial (eg: ActionScript 3) solutions.

We encourage you to look at the project and test it! More information about the project can be found here, while on the seminar here.

The number of digital libraries in the PIONIER network Digital Libraries Federation

The PIONIER network Digital Libraries Federation was first made publicly available in 22nd June, 2007. Then 16 digital libraries were connected to the PIONIER DLF. Today, the list is longer by 41 items(!) and there is 57 digital libraries. It is an increase of more than 3 times!

The increase of digital libraries in the PIONIER DLF
Chart 1. The increase of digital libraries in the PIONIER DLF.

The graph nr 1 shows the rate of growth since the beginning of the PIONIER DLF. As you can see it is stable and continuously maintains approximately the same level. If the trend is maintained, the number of 100 digital libraries connected to the PIONIER DLF will be achieved in ca. three years.

The number of new digital libraries during a year
Chart 2. The number of new digital libraries during a year.

The results for the rate of growth are in line with the number of new digital libraries during a year – remained more or less the same since the beginning of the PIONIER DLF (see chart nr 2) and the average number is 14 digital libraries per year. But year 2010 has not yet ended, so we hope that it will be at record high. To this day, the 16 new digital libraries has joined the PIONIER DLF in 2010. Only one missing to the record.

And 4 months remain till the end of this year….

Data update in Europeana

In the last few weeks Europeana has updated data transferred via the PIONIER Network Digital Libraries Federation. Even though some problems occurred, the operation ended with success. In this update the Federation has for the first time passed thumbnails for the most of objects from the Federation – almost 300 000 thumbnails. Furthermore the objects number from the Federation increased almost up to 350 000. Thanks to the dLibra Framework functionality some of thumbnails were generated automatically.

FBC w Europeanie
Figure 1. Thumbnails for objects transferred via the Federation.

This data transfer to Europeana was the first transfer for 6 new digital libraries:

We encourage new digital repositories to join the Federation and thus the Europeana! More on this topic here.

Implementation of The Commission Recommendation on Digitisation […] – Report 2010 by POLAND

28th February, 2010 was the deadline for submission of reports on the application of The Commission Recommendation on Digitisation and Online Accessibility of Cultural Material and Digital Preservation. Poland, as a Member State of the European Union, was also obliged to submit such report on the current implementation stage. You can download it here.

According to the document, it is estimated, that at the beginning of 2010 there is in Poland:

  • ca. 500 000 digital object in the libraries (80% available via the Internet),
  • ca. 1 000 000 digital object in the archives (20% available via the Internet),
  • ca. 500 000 digital object in the museums (1-2% available via the Internet).

Of which around 350 000 (17.5%), mainly located in the libraries, is visible in the European digital library, archive and museum – Europeana. In order to increase digital objects number and then to make them visible in the Internet, four Competence Centres were set up:

There is more interesting information in the report. The National Library estimates now, that there is around 1 600 000 books in the public domain in Poland. It is a great resource, which can be freely digitized and make available in the Internet. Thats way in the document there is an assumption that by 2013 there will be 1 000 000 digitized objects in the global network from libraries in Poland. Furthermore by 2020 there will be 15 000 000 of Polish digital objects, which will be stored in the digital repositories of different types:

  • digital libraries,
  • digital archives,
  • virtual museums,
  • audiovisual collections.

The Committee for Digitisation at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the four aforementioned Competence Centres are responsible for work on reaching that number (you can find more here on the programe).

Moreover the report contains a short description and contact addresses of 5 selected data providers for the Europeana. We are pleased to note, that 4 out of 5 presented, are visible in the Europeana via the PIONIER network Digital Libraries Federation:

If you are looking for more news about:

  • projected costs of digitisation in the next few years,
  • state of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP),
  • government programs in Poland tackling the issue of digitisation,
  • long-term preservation

I encourage you to read the whole report and the document mentioned in the report – “Program for digitisation of cultural goods and collection, storage and availability of digital items in Poland in 2009-2020“.

400 000 publications in the PIONIER DLF!

On the 24th of May, 2010 around 10:20 AM the total number of publications in Polish digital libraries connected to the PIONIER DLF reached 400 000.

The publication number 400 000 is the Bridges-Our word: magazine of Jewish Workers’ Party (Sjon Poaley-Hashomer Hatzair). Y. 4 (1949) nr 44 (447) published on-line by the University of Warsaw Digital Library.

We also estimated the publications growth rate in Polish digital libraries over the last three months. According to data stored in the PIONIER DLF the average number of publications added every month is 15 000. At the end of 2009, we calculated the growth rate at the level of 10 000 publications a month. This means the increase of 5 000 publications! More can be found on the site with the total number of publications.

We are also pleased to note that digital librarians effort is appreciated by the History and Media portal. This site began a series of articles entitled “Found in Polish digital libraries” with particularly attractive materials found via the PIONIER DLF. We encourage everyone to read them!

Congratulations to all creators and contributors of Polish digital libraries!

Europeana and Open Source community

The philosophy of Open Source is popular among the programmers community. Many of us use OS products in their daily work (eg: Eclipse, Apache, Tomcat) as well as in everyday life (eg: Firefox, Thunderbird, Since its construction the European Digital Library – Europeana has been financed mainly from EU funds, so it rose a question whether its sources would be widely available. Europeana Annual Report for the year 2010 has answered affirmatively 🙂

Openness towards the Open Source community is conducted through two portals: EuropeanaLabs and delving (previous Open Europeana). The main objective of EuropeanaLabs is to create  joint development area for Europeana group of projectsEuropeanaLabs website contains among others links to source code of Europeana (released on the latest version of OS license – EUPL) and the technical documentation associated with the project, for example:

All those pages are publicly available.

However, strictly dedicated portal for Open Source community is delving. Its purpose is to encourage OS community to participate in building Europeana portal, which is why we find there:

  • a git repository where you can commit fixes or new features,
  • a wiki page with the required information (currently under construction),
  • an e-mail group for contact between delving software developers.

More details on how to join the development of Europeana and the differences between EuropeanaLabs and delving can be found here.

The Europeana annual report also lists reasons for described behaviour: transparency and the sharing of work outcomes that fall clearly in the form of European Union initiatives. Time will tell whether the openness towards Open Source community will bring Europeana tangible benefits. Today is the beginning of the road and we can only guess. But I hope that this initiative will end successfully and Europeana will also include a code of developers, which are not affiliated with projects around the Europeana.

Student’s Festival of Computing Science 2010

Apart from business trips targeting at deepening the knowledge and exchanging experiences in the field of digital libraries (trips to conferences such as ECDL, JCDL), we remember also about development in the general understood IT field. Hence the idea to take part in the conference focusing on diverse IT topics. Such conference allows us to become familiar with the innovations from the world of IT and use them potentially in our projects.

Student’s Festival of Computing Science 2010 took place in Cracow from 11th till 13 th of March, 2010 – a free conference for IT professionals, bringing together well-known speakers from Poland as well as from the rest of the world. Among the speakers of this and previous editions were such people as:

The conference was opened by a lecture of prof. Jerzy Nawrocki on formalism and agility in IT projects, as a response to the syndrome of LOOP:

  • L – late,
  • O – over budget,
  • O – overtime,
  • P – poor quality.

He indicated the attempts to solve this problem by various concepts of project management involving the increased formalism (e.g.: ISO9000) or increased agility (e.g.: XP). Both approaches, however, have their drawbacks (formalism: too much documentation, slow decision-making process; agility: no customer on the spot, too short prospect of a plan). Therefore, prof. Nawrocki proposed new project management methodology – XPrince, which takes from both approaches their best, in this way trying to tackle their weaknesses. Quoting the speaker “XP – not on an empty stomach and not before the bedtime”.  More on this topic here.

Another interesting speaker was Dr. Michael Korzycki presenting topic of artificial intelligence in e-commerce by using the example of recommendation systems. Those systems also pertains to the digital libraries, and their proper implementation is not trivial. Speaker presented the subject on the basis of Netflix Prize, which aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the recommendation system of a rent-a-DVD service by 10% (the winning algorithm described on the Netflix Prize). According to the company’s estimates, the recommendation system provided 60% of their income! Among the used methods, dr Korzycki drew our attention to the effectiveness of simple heuristics based on the knowledge of human nature, for example, when people have a bad mood they evaluate worse and vice versa.  Speaker left listeners with a few conclusions based on his experience (several recommendations systems made  for commercial customers):

  • recommendations systems are needed due to the increasing number of products,
  • there is no silver bullet – those systems require a large amount of knowledge “inserted” in the system,
  • the most obvious recommendations are not interesting to the user – after all they can figure them out alone,
  • algorithm is an important tool, but we cannot forget that it is also important to present results appropriate on the web page.

Finally short summaries of two other interesting presentations. The first is the lecture on BCI (brain-computer interface) presenting the basic mechanisms by which those devices operate. Speaker mentioned also about the work carried out in this field in Poland at the University of Warsaw – a complete open platform for BCI – OpenBCI. The second presentation was about a tool for building code of IT projects in a flexible manner – Gradle. This project combines the advantages of Ant, Apache Ivy and Maven2, while removing their defects.

Additionally on the SFI’s site can be found videos of presentations from various festival editions. We encourage you to watch!