Tag Archives: EuropeanaLocal

Digital National Museum in Warsaw is on-line!

On the 12 May in the National Museum in Warsaw a press conference took place. On this conference the Digital National Museum in Warsaw was oficially presented for the first time. This digital muzeum is available at http://cyfrowe.mnw.art.pl/ and it is based on the dMuseion software developed by PSNC. During the conference Ms Lidia Karecka, vice-director of the museum, described the history of digitisation efforts and electronic inventory in the museum. PSNC representative shortly described the role of Digital National Museum in the context of the Polish Digital Libraries Federation and Europeana. PSNC is the main technical partner in this enterprise and it is responsible for the software platform. During the conference representatives of two companies (NIKON and Scanning 3D) also spoke. Both these companies supported the digitisation of the museum collections. Objects digitsed by scanning 3D can be found in a special collection of the digital museum. The last element of the conference was on-line presentation of the portal functionality performed by dr Piotr Kopszak, coordinator of digitisation in the museum.

The conference attracted media and the information about the portal launch were soon published in many information portals including, m.in. TVP (National Television), PAP (Polish Press Agency), Rzeczpospolita and Gazeta.pl.

Collections of the Digital National Museum in Warsaw are already available in Europeana. The data transfer is realized in cooperation with Digital Libraries Federation under the EuropeanaLocal project.

ACCESS IT – Final project conference

On the 21st of March in Istanbul (Turkey) a summary conference of the two years long Access IT project was held.
As a part of this project PSNC Digital Libraries Team prepared e-learning courses (available at http://dl.psnc.pl/moodle) for small memory institutions about creation of digital libraries and cooperation with Europeana. During the project this course was widely implemented and used in Serbia, Greece and Turkey, as we informed earlier on our site.

The conference programme is available at the project website. PSNC Team on the conference was presenting Europeana and EuropeanaLocal project. We also showed the e-learning course and described the rules of its reuse and development. Here you can find few photos from the conference.

During the conference the Access IT Plus project was also shortly described. This project will be a continuation of the current project and should start in the first half of 2011. During this project we will extend existing e-learning course and develop basic software packages useful for small memory institutions in the process of digitisation and creation of digital libraries. This time the target countries for educational activities will be Croatia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. More information on the project coming soon…

Europeana OpenSearch API is now publicly available with PSNC as one of pilot partners!

On the 28th of February Europeana published its API, compatible with the OpenSearch standard. With such API external applications and Internet services can search in the information aggregated in Europeana and use such search results outside of it. Work on the Europeana API was carried out for the last few months, and in the second half of 2010, after the Europeana Open Culture conference, The Europeana Foundation began cooperation with institutions interested in testing the API and in the development of pilot applications. Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center was one of such institutions.

As a part of the Europeana API pilot program, PSNC developed two components:

More information about the Europeana API can be found on the Europeana website. Besides technical information there is also a gallery of applications using the API. Information about components developed by PSNC is also there.

We encourage all interested in the use of the Europeana OpenSearch API to give it a try and recommend the post in which we describe our experiences with it. We would also like to remind you, that the Digital Libraries Federation also has a similar interface. It is publicly available and its documentation is published on the DLF website.


Europeana API – Example of use in Polish digital libraries


After the Europeana Open Culture Conference in 2010 we started cooperation with Europeana on a prototype use of the Europeana API in some of our services. After some initial discussions we decided to develop two widgets based on the API: one for the Polish Digital Libraries Federation (DLF) and the other one for the Digital Library of Wielkopolska (DLW).

DLF is a Polish metadata aggregator which harvests information from around 60 digital libraries. Currently it provides information about more than 550,000 objects. Of course, the information is contributed to Europeana. DLW on the other hand is the largest Polish digital library. It holds around 130,000 digital objects, mostly national and local cultural heritage from tenths of memory institutions from the Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) region. DLW contributes the metadata to the Digital Libraries Federation.

We wanted to use the Europeana API to provide easier access to European cultural heritage artifacts for users of Polish digital libraries without forcing the users to change their usual workflow. Therefore we have made some initial assumptions about the workflow. We assumed that search in aggregated metadata is the main DLF functionality for the majority of end users. Each displayed DLF search result contains only a few elements of the harvested metadata and redirects the user to full information in the source digital library (e.g. in DLW). The functionality left to the source digital library is to display the full metadata record and to give access to the content of the digital object.

Finally we came up with the idea to achieve our aim by enrichment of the information presented to DLF and/or DLW users with links to additional objects available via Europeana, which can be practically done by putting widgets based on Europeana API on the DLF search results page and DLW full metadata record page.


Further analysis was focused on technical aspects. Europeana API is an Open Search protocol interface. To get some results, an input query is needed. We assumed that for the DLF widget the input will be the query submitted to the DLF by the user, and for the DLW the query will be built from selected elements of a particular metadata record displayed by the user.

As the metadata from DLF is visible in Europeana, we had to face the fact that DLF database is updated each night and DLF to Europeana data transfer in practice takes place every three months. As a result, DLF is a more up-to-date source of information for Polish digital libraries metadata search. On the other hand, Europeana of course contains a lot more information than the Federation. The final decision was to join the data from Europeana and the DLF at runtime: when preparing the final set of information to be shown to the user, the results from Europeana should not include data from DLF, as this data should be taken directly from DLF. Another issue was related to cross-language searching. We decided that the subject element from the DLW metadata records will be translated with Google translate to English, Spanish, German and French before it is sent by the widget as a query to the Europeana API.


The final result of our technical discussions was the architecture presented in the image below.

Final architecture of Europeana API usage

Figure 1. Final architecture of Europeana API usage by the Digital Libraries Federation and the Digital Library of Wielkopolska.

As you can see in Figure 1, we try to integrate the functionalities provided by three services – Europeana, Digital Libraries Federation and Digital Library of Wielkopolska:

  • Europeana exposes Open Search API.
  • Digital Libraries Federation uses Europeana API to provide the search results from Europeana together with the search results from the Federation. Those results are presented together in the Digital Libraries Federation website, as you can see in Figure 2.

    Figure 2. DLF’s search results page with results from Europeana [source].

    Moreover, the Federation exposes two Open Search APIs for external services. One of those is the Federation’s API and the second one is a proxy to Europeana API dedicated for use by Polish digital libraries. The main reason for which the Europeana API has a proxy in the DLF is the ease of development and use of the widget prepared by the Federation for Polish digital libraries.

  • This widget is embedded in websites presenting metadata records of digital objects published by the Digital Library of Wielkopolska. The widget extracts parts of the metadata, translates them on the browser side  with the Google Translate service and sends the translated metadata together with the OAI Identifier of the digital object to both Open Search APIs exposed by the Federation. After responses are processed by the widget, the search results are presented as a part of the website with the digital object metadata. You can see example of such results in the left column in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Search results from Europeana and DLF on the Digital Libraries of Wielkopolska site [source].

If you would like to see some live examples, you can try the following links:

The design and implementation of both widgets and other necessary code took about 10 person-days of a skilled programmer. The API-based widgets were first deployed in the test environment and consulted with Europeana Team which was also responsible for providing technical information about the API. Then on the 22nd/23rd of December 2010 widgets were deployed in the production environment.


While working on the design, implementation and deployment of the widgets based on the Europeana API, we were hoping to contribute to the following (expected) user flow (see Figure 4):

Figure 4. Expected user flow after widgets’ deployment.

We assumed that the widgets will attract its users to visit Europeana. In return the increase of the group of Europeana users should finally cause also an increase of DLF and DLW users. As widgets were deployed just two months ago, it is not possible to already observe the increased traffic. Nevertheless, at the beginning of March we have contacted the Europeana team and asked for some statistics regarding the traffic coming to Europeana from Poland and about the traffic attracted to Europeana by the Digital Libraries Federation and the Digital Library of Wielkopolska. For the purpose of this article, we have compared those statistics with our own data. All statistics were gathered with Google Analytics.

First, let’s try to find out whether the widgets were useful for end users. Both DLF and DLW get about 70,000 visits each month. Figure 5 contains a comparison of the percentage share of three types of such visits for DLF (blue bars) and DLW (red bars). The middle pair of bars (marked as 100%) represents visits during which a visitor displayed a page with the widgets installed. Those pages (DLF: search results page; DLW: metadata record page) are so crucial to the functionality provided by the service that we assumed that any visit skipping those pages must have been somehow accidental. The pair of bars on the left shows the number of all visits. As you can see that around one third of all visits are not reaching the crucial functionality of the website. This is for sure something that could be improved. But coming back to Europeana API widgets – the last pair of bars in Figure 5 shows the percentage of users who reached the page with widget and decided to click on the digital object’s link provided by Europeana via the API. As you can see, 7.5% of the Federation users went to Europeana and 0.67% of DLW did the same.

Figure 5. Comparison of user visits in DLF and DLW.

At this stage it is hard to estimate whether this is satisfactory, but when we think of the additional links as some kind of targeted advertisement placed on a cultural heritage website, the results may be seen as quite good.

Another interesting analysis is the comparison of the traffic coming out to Europeana from those two services with the traffic coming the other way around. This is shown in Figure 6. First, let us take a look at traffic coming out to Europeana (blue bars). As it was mentioned earlier, the widgets were deployed in the second half of December. In November 2010 there was no traffic coming to Europeana at all. In December we sent around 1, 000 visits, and in January 2011 it was almost 3,800. This again confirms that the widgets and data provided by Europeana were found useful by our users.

Figure 6. Comparison of traffic to and from Europeana over time.

At this moment it is hard to say, that the number of users coming from Europeana (red bars) to DLF and DLW changed after the widgets were deployed. The number of users in November 2010 and January 2011 is quite similar. The December 2010 traffic is significantly smaller, but this is also caused by the Christmas break. Another interesting number is the number of new users coming from Europeana each month. New users are users who have never before visited the service. It seems that Europeana provides us a constant flow of new users – around 400 each month.

The last statistics that we would like to present is a simple comparison of traffic sources for the Digital Library of Wielkopolska (the largest Polish digital library). Traffic sources are ways in which users reach our service.

Traffic source Visits %
(direct) 27 936 38,34%
google 14 925 20,48%
fbc.pionier.net.pl 8 286 11,37%
europeana.eu 3 143 4,31%
wtg-gniazdo.org 2 391 3,28%
pl.wikipedia.org 2 152 2,95%
genealodzy.pl 1 589 2,18%

The table above shows all traffic sources for the DLW in January 2011, which generated at least 1% of overall January traffic. Two first results are quite obvious – direct access (for example a bookmark in the web browser) and access from Google search results. But position 3 and 4 are very interesting. The 3rd place is the national aggregator – the Federation, and the 4th is the European aggregator – Europeana. The last three positions are taken by two genealogical services and Polish Wikipedia. These statistics show that the model of multilevel aggregation described in the Europeana Content Strategy is very good at attracting users to the participating digital libraries.


In this article we have described our experience with Europeana API. It offers very interesting possibilities and it is easy to use (as it is based on the well-known Open Search standard). We hope that there will be more such mechanisms in Europeana in the nearest future, as they give the possibility to move the knowledge about European cultural heritage from metadata aggregation to services integration. And this seems to be the direction of evolution desired by the users.

Presentation for this article can be found at http://dl.psnc.pl/biblioteka/dlibra/publication/349/content

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 Europeana.eu 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 Europeana.eu 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.

Local and regional cultural heritage objects in Europeana

The aim of the EuropeanaLocal project, which runs form over 2 years now, is to establish connection between local and regional cultural institutions and Europeana and to create standard proceudres for establishing such connections for institutions, which will be interested in such cooperation after the end of the EuropeanaLocal project.

An example of such activities in Poland is the Digital Libraries Federation, acting as a Polish metadata aggregator for Europeana. DLF was the first Europeana content provider connected to Europeana in the frame of EuropeanaLocal project, and this connection was made in December last year. Presently similar connections were established by aggregators of local and regional institutions from Spain, Norway, UK, Sweden, Greece, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Austria.

In september a major update of Europeana software is planned, to the version with the codename “Rhine”. Before this update the following countries are planned to be connected: Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Ireland, Hungary, Belgium, Holland, Portugal and maybe France. Such large scale confirms the idea of the creation of national metadata aggregators, which was the basis for the EuropeanaLocal project and later was included in the Europeana Content Strategy.

Map showing metadata aggregators currently registered in the EuropeanaLocal project is available at the website of this project.

Digital Libraries Federation as a reference case study for cooperation with Europeana

In a recently published “Aggregators Handbook”, prepared by the Europeana v1.0 project for metadata aggregators willing to cooperate with Europeana, a case study showing the way for aggregator to start such cooperation has been included. The basis for this study were the experiences of the Polish Digital Libraries Federation. The text of this case study is also available at the information pages for potential Europeana partners.

Created and developed by PSNC Digital Libraries Federation since December 2009 is connected with Europeana. The Federation was the first metadata aggregator connected as a part of the EuropeanaLocal project, and currently is the 8th Europeana content provider in the terms of the number of objects delivered.

Support for Europeana Semantic Elements in DSpace

Very good news for all administrators of digital repositories created using DSpace platform. Vangelis Banos published a DSpace plugin which allows to expose Europeana Semantic Elements compliant metadata through OAI-PMH interface. Source code and detailed instruction can be found at author’s website. Plugin was already used in digital library created and maintained by Veria Central Public Library (Greece).

In case of Polish digital libraries connected to Europeana via the PIONIER Network Digital Libraries Federation there is no need to expose the metadata in the ESE schema on the level of particular digital library. Data in the Dublin Core schema harvested from digital libraries is automaticaly enriched with the mandatory ESE elements and exposed in this form for Europeana.