Europeana press release
Europeana is proud to announce its first White Paper: a look at the key role linked data will play in Europeana’s development and in helping Europe’s citizens make connections between existing knowledge to achieve new cultural and scientific advances.
Linked data gives machines the ability to make associations and put search terms into context. Without it, Europeana could be seen as a simple collection of digital objects. With linked data, the potential is far greater, as the author of the white paper, Prof. Stefan Gradmann, explains.
He uses an example from the experimental Thought Lab to show how a search for ‘Paris’ intuitively leads to connected concepts like items in the Louvre, a Paris-based institution. It also gives the option to see paintings portraying people named Paris, such as the Greek prince, who abducted of Helen of Troy. From there, more links point the way to topics like the ‘myth of Paris’ or the mythical Apple of Discord – a golden apple that sparked a dispute and eventually led to the Trojan War – and then on to the forbidden apple eaten by Adam and Eve.
This is just one example of how linked data will allow Europeana to propose connections between millions of items from Europe’s heritage. These connections can then be used to generate new ideas and knowledge, on a scale not possible before.
“Strange as it may seem, this is the way lots of original artwork is conceived: through mental operations based on shifts of meaning, connotation and personal association,” says Prof. Gradmann, an expert in semantic technology, a professor for Library and Information Science at Humboldt University in Berlin and someone heavily involved in the building of Europeana.
Prof. Gradmann places this advanced search technology at the heart of Europeana’s purpose.
“One of Europeana’s main roles should be to help Europe’s citizens create a new era of knowledge from our shared culture and history.”
The publication of the White Paper follows the recent release of another key document from Europeana, the Public Domain Charter. The Charter emphasises the importance of preserving and keeping the Public Domain accessible to those who own it: the public.