EuropeanaPhotography, a digitization project by 19 partners to deliver >430.000 images of early photography to Europeana, is completed. At the moment, users can browse through 448,811 photos on the Europeana portal.
During this 3 year journey, we discovered the unknown content of eachother’s archives and unearthed images of exceptional beauty. The collection as a whole gives a very complete overview of early photography – with the exception perhaps of Daguerreotypes, since there is another project working on this. But more importantly, it shows a hitherto untold story of European history, in particular how city lives evolved, as was put on display in our exhibition “All our Yesterdays“. The fact that we were a consortium spanning from Kiev to Barcelona and from London to Cyprus, together with the particular effort to explore new, often privately owned collections in Central Europe, allowed us to show aspects of European history that are not fully appreciated in all corners of the continent, and are most certainly not yet well represented in history schoolbooks throughout Europe.
EuropeanaPhotography was a digitization project, with a very focused work package structure. As such, it’s innovation lies not so much in its technological advance – since for digitization you use proven technologies – but in the impact that large digital collections have on different uses. The availability of large, curated, consistent thematic collections allows for a host of new applications to emerge. About 95.000 images from the Collection are Public Domain Marked, allowing reuse without conditions.
Exactly this aspect is what we are exploring in Europeana Space: the reuse of content from Europeana and other similar sources. In the photography pilot, we will explore new, innovative ways to reuse high-end photographic heritage. A first demo was with the Blinkster app near the end of the “All our Yesterdays” exhibition in Leuven. The app automatically detects the work a user is pointing at (see gallery) with his or her smartphone, and shows the corresponding caption. After the museum visit, the user has a small database with the images he/she retrieved during the exhibition.
A second pilot involves storytelling with Europeana content. Users can login to our ESpace environment, search for images on Europeana and other public sources, make a selection and build a story with them. This can be shared with other users. Users will also be able to upload their own images into the mix, using a CC-BY-SA license. For this, we use an Omeka frontend which is linked to both Europeana (through the Europeana API) and the ESpace API. In a third phase, we will add augmented reality functionality to these images, allowing users to superimpose old photographs on new ones. For this, we are using photographs from the Leuven City Archive, which also contributes to Europeana. Interested in other examples of EuropeanaSpace pilots? Have a look at Photomediations.net, an Open Book!
Follow news about EuropeanaSpace on DigitalMeetsCulture.net, the very popular magazine of partner Promoter. EuropeanaPhotography finished on January 31st, 2015. A new membership organization was formed, that will continue the work: Photoconsortium.