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Collaboration to Build a Meaningful Connection Between Library Content and the Researcher

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Europeana Libraries is an EU-funded project that brings together the key networks of CENL (Conference of European National Librarians), LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries), CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries), and the Europeana Foundation.

Together, they are uniting to accomplish the following objectives:

• Build a platform capable of large-scale aggregation of national and research libraries' collections;

• Feed this newly-aggregated content into a new website, specifically aimed at meeting the needs of digital humanities researchers, as well as to Europeana;

• Improve metadata quality, to address the need for better search results in both Europeana and the new portal;

• Offer digital collections where the text will be ready to be made fully searchable, making it possible to search inside books and other materials; and

• Develop an exploitation plan to prepare the service for its extension, initially to other libraries within the membership of LIBER, CERL, and CENL, as well as beyond the consortium partners

Nineteen European research libraries from across Europe are participating by adding first-class digital content, including 5.1 million pages, videos, books, theses, and articles, via Europeana Libraries to Europeana.

It is widely accepted that ease of access and, particularly, the one-stop shop approach, are favored by researchers as a clean and efficient way to access digital content. As well as ease of access, quality-assured content is of equal importance. Europeana Libraries addresses this issue directly by taking content from Europe's research libraries, where confidence can be placed in the metadata and the quality of the imaging. The development of full-text indexing as part of Europeana Libraries is of great importance as it will deliver a first-class tool for researchers, enabling them to undertake both deep textual analysis and types of research that are simply not possible in a paper environment.

In an environment where digitized and born digital content is growing at an accelerated pace, Europeana Libraries shows how previously disparate institutions can work together to seize the opportunities this presents and help libraries and researchers exploit the benefits of digital cultural heritage.
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Keywords: Europeana Libraries; digital humanities; partnership; research infrastructure

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries), National Library of The Netherlands, The Hague, The Netherlands 2: CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries), London, UK 3: UCL Library Services, University College, London, UK

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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