Digitization of cultural content – Commission enters into unknown territory

November 21, 2008 at 7:59 pm 3 comments

In ancient times, the library of Alexandria was said to contain up to 70% of all human knowledge. Aiming to reap the benefits of the digital age, the European Commission wants to do even better than that.
It was against this background that the Commission launched the EU’s digital libraries initiative in 2006 aiming to make Europe’s cultural resources and scientific records digitally accessible to all. This project saw daylight on 20 November 2008 with the launch of the Europeana.eu website.  During the official launch ceremony in Brussels Commissioner Viviane Reding stated that Europeana offers a journey through time, across borders, and into new ideas of what our culture is. However, Europeana seems also have offered the European Commission a lesson in web-page management.

One the first day of its launch, with more than 10 million hits an hour, Europeana simply crashed and the European Commission had to shut it down. The Commission is now working on to reopen the site in a more solid version hoping to reactivate it before the end of 2008.

Despite these intial problems the Digital team at Fleishman Hillard would of course like congratulate the Commission for this initative. The idea of combining multimedia library, museum and archive into one digital website combined with Web 2.0 features is just fantastic and we are eager to see how it will work in practice. It remains to be seen if the Commission will achieve its objective to digitalize and make available ten million objectives on the website by 2010.


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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at www.fleishman-hillard.eu

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