November 25, 2008

Europeana digital library launches

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Europeana, the European Union's digital library, went down shortly after the launch of its prototype on Thursday. The library's project website said the system wasn't able to handle 10 million hits an hour. The operators say they are now working on a more robust version and plan to have it ready by mid-December.

In April 2005, six European countries called on the EU to create a European library by networking national projects. Initially, the target was to make two million books, films, photos, manuscripts and other cultural objects accessible in this library as early as 2007. In February 2008, the launch time was set as this November.

The European Commission called Europeana the "open sesame for art, culture and history". It is now said to contain 3 million objects, among them the full score of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the French Declaration Human Rights of 1789, the English Magna Carta, Dante's Divine Comedy and the Gutenberg Bible.

According to a report from the New York Times so far, half of the objects are French. Additional contributors include the Netherlands and the UK. According to the European Commission, Germany, Spain and Poland plan to contribute further objects in the next few months. The library is planned to offer about 10 million objects by 2010. The European Commission intends to spend €119M on this project.

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Source: Heise.de

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