Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Europeana is the most bewildering place I've been to for a while...after spending a good 15 minutes being walked through a very elaborate demo of the far from complete site, I broke away and found a press release that gave me some sense of where I was. Evidently I was experiencing the demo version of the new European digital library, to be launched in November. (excerpt)"The website, branded Europeana, will break new ground by bringing together millions of digitised resources from Europe’s archives, museums, libraries and audio visual collections through a single portal. The site model was previewed at a conference in Frankfurt last week to holders of digital content, including curators, archivists, publishers and librarians. They were shown how a user would be able to use sophisticated browsing and searching to find paintings, photographs, objects, books, newspapers, archival records, films and sound that have been digitised by Europe’s heritage organisations."
The site is aesthetically pleasing, incorporates web2.0 features and lots of cool technology, but doesn't strike me as as a place to go if you're looking for something specific about Europe. If you're looking for everything about Europe, it's excellent. I even dutifully tried to fill out a questionnaire at the end, but the questions were too hard for me ("Did you like the colors? Why?") There's the above mentioned demo, which is fascinating if you just let yourself go and don't worry about losing your bearings, and also The Boots video an introductory video with Nancy Sinatra (of Italian extraction) singing about Vincent van Gogh's boots (until now, I never knew what that song was about!) American blues harmonica also figures prominently in the video. Crazy, man!