Culture and memory in the Digital Age: Europeana.eu

Europeana is an online resource for digitized cultural materials from all across Europe. More than 2,000 institutions have contributed to Europeana and the collections continue to grow. The history of this online source is an interesting one. In 2005, former president of France, Jacques Chirac, along with six Heads of State from across Europe, called for the creation of a European digital library in a letter to the European Commission. The project has developed and flourished over time, encompassing different aspects of information technology.

The Europeana Foundation is the leading body of the entire project, which includes the digital library at europeana.eu. The Foundation is also head of the Linked Open Data project. Several countries are already participating in the linked open data project by providing data sets of raw data. These are available for anyone to use. The project will undoubtedly continue to grow, and more data will be made available over time.

There are several ways to explore the digital library using the main Europeana search portal. Images, text, sounds and video make up the available items and material, and extensive metadata is included with each entry. Subject or descriptor headings are linkable, so one item will lead the scholar to other similar items with just one click. Many of the descriptors are in English, as well as in the language of the originating institution.  Another unique feature of Europeana is the collection of online exhibitions.

Each exhibition has a theme, and all images or sound files included are annotated in detail right on the page. Certain exhibitions are hosted by partner institutions, while most are compiled by Europeana, which uses its collections provided by institutions of cultural memory from across Europe. 

Europeana is also very active on social media sites, including Pinterest. This is the perfect forum for Europeana's content, as it has included tons of images, and organized them by theme on different boards. You do not need a Pinterest account access these boards. 

Finally, Europeana recently launched a project called "Europeana 1989: We made history". Working with HistoryPin, an online community where people can "pin" images to certain places on a map, Europeana's newest project is a crowd-sourcing endeavor. People are invited to contribute their pictures and stories about where they were in 1989, what life was like and what was happening at the time. The project only launched in early June 2013 and is growing at quite the pace. Consider exploring the contributions, or adding something yourself!


Guide to Linguistics from the Russian National Library

The Russian National Library is an essential resource for many scholars studying Russia and the former Soviet Union. Not only does the library have an amazing scanned card catalog and periodicals database (both of which are heavily used by the Slavic Reference Service), the institution's librarians also create detailed guides to reference and bibliographic sources open to public use. 

List of available guides to reference and bibliographic sources from the Russian National Library 
The newest guide that the Russian National Library has created is about linguistics: Языкознание. Although its focus is mainly that of Russian linguistics, it does not limit itself to that topic, as there are sections about Germanic and Romance languages, as well as other Slavic languages. The guide is divided into three parts: 1.) Directories, which include encyclopedias, glossaries, and dictionaries 2.) bibliographic tools and databases and 3.) Other portals and websites. Each of these main categories leads to a list of books, journals and articles; the list of links lead to annotations for the items. The final section offers web links the Russian National Library deems valuable to the study of linguistics.

This guide is obviously directed at linguistics scholars who already know Russian, but a student of the Russian language could benefit from some of the resources listed. The guide itself is a rich resource, allowing scholars to learn about a variety of resources from one spot on the Russian National Library's website.


Latvian National Digital Library

The Baltic states are small but they pack a punch when it comes to digitization and open access of scholarly materials. Latvia is no exception. The Latvian National Digital Library offers amazing access to full-text resources, including periodicals, books and maps. This digitization project was made possible in part by the European Regional Development Fund. The European Union created this fund to help even out the economic disparities between western European countries, who were already members of the EU and new member states, many of which were formerly part of the Soviet bloc of countries. You may be wondering, how does regional development coincide with digitization?


Exploring COBISS.net

Are you working on a research project that involves the Balkans?

Don't forget to take a look at COBISS.net, which provides access to the national and regional library catalogs from Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Albania.

As you can see, there are hundreds of libraries that participate in this project for sharing information across the region. Croatia is currently not a part of the project, although organizers have offered an official invitation to participate. Libraries in Kosovo will be included eventually, as they are still preparing to join. The libraries that participate range from the National Libraries of each country, to University libraries to even small local libraries. Each union catalog offers an efficient way to search for materials to borrow, or just to verify bibliographic information.

Here is a list of goals the COBISS project has for its development:
  • To enhance the automation and inclusion of libraries of already participating countries in the national library information systems and in the COBISS.Net network.
  • To attract the interest of libraries in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Kosovo to the opportunity to evolve more rapidly by becoming part of the COBISS.Net network.
  • To harmonise cataloguing rules with international recommendations and standards.
  • To set up compatible research information systems (SICRIS/E-CRIS) in the participating countries (databases on researchers, research organisations and research projects).
  • To encourage the competent ministries and universities of the participating countries to accept the concept of managing researchers' bibliographies within the national library systems and ensure the transparency of the research results.
  • To increase the use of research results for the purpose of stimulating innovation processes and economic and social development in the region. (Source)


National Library of Poland adds 1.3 million records to WorldCat

From OCLC:

"...There are currently some 1.4 million Polish records already in WorldCat. This new agreement with the National Library of Poland will nearly double the number of Polish records in the database.

'We are very pleased to be able to enrich WorldCat with additional Polish content,' said Eric van Lubeek, Managing Director, OCLC EMEA. 'Polish communities and other researchers around the world who are interested in Polish language literature, history, culture and other important and useful information will certainly benefit from this addition to WorldCat.'"

Full article is available here: http://www.oclc.org/us/en/news/releases/2012/201269.htm.


Resources of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia

Scholars looking for information about Georgia should include the National Parliamentary Library in their search repertoire. This institution offers incredible access to the information it holds and organizes. Georgian is a beautiful language, but don't fret if you have no clue how to read it, or are just starting to learn it, because the website it available in English. This helps tremendously with navigation. Here http://www.nplg.gov.ge/ec/en/changedb.html is a complete list of online databases the library has compiled. Feel free to explore all the options.

For the most part, records from the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia will help verify bibliographic information for different types of resources, such as a book's publication information or an article's author, title, and page numbers. The Digital Library offers materials online and in full-text, specifically
  1. The Greenstone Project of UNESCO – a digital collection of Georgian literature, including all famous authors’ works of Georgian classical literature and the authors’ short biographies. There are also complete texts on civil education.
  2. A digital collection of printed archive and dissertations – complete texts of the books and theses. There are also scanned versions of printed publications in PDF format. 
  3. Digital Library “Iverieli”- offers the users digitalized copies of journals, newspapers, photos and rare editions from the collections of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia. (information directly from website)
A note about searching:
There are several options when searching on this site- English, Georgian script, Georgian transliteration, and Russian. The searcher will probably not find as much information by searching in just English. The majority of bibliographic records will either be in Russian or Georgian script. There are some resources that can help in transliteration which may, in turn, help in a search.

ALA-Library of Congress transliteration table-- http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/georgian.pdf 
Automated transliteration: http://ge.translit.cc/