EuropeanaTech Conference 2018


SAVE THE DATE – The third international EuropeanaTech conference took place on the “ss Rotterdam” in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May 15-16 as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

EuropeanaTech 2018 brought together an international network of technical and R&D specialists from memory organisations, research institutions and creative industries to share innovative progress and forecast the technical future of Europeana and digital cultural heritage.

ss rotterdam
It offered the opportunity to work with and learn from leading specialists, practitioners and researchers from across the world, to benefit from the mutual exchange of ideas, technology and code and as an event it leads the way in how technologies bring Europe’s cultural heritage closer to people

EuropeanaTech is about the practical application of research concepts and the latest technologies to digital libraries. For this edition of EuropeanaTech, we concentrated on the three D’s: Data, Discovery and Delivery. Intertwined are the concepts of participation, linked and big data; language and tools. Across all the subjects we are looking for the inclusion of rigorous evaluations of the outcomes. The conference was a mix of invited speakers and successful presentations of both gorgeous successes and  glorious failures.

List of Topics


  • User generated content and metadata:  from crowdsourcing of descriptive data and transcription projects to Wikidata and structured data on the Commons to how to combine institutional and user generated metadata. We are looking for what has worked, or what hasn’t and can be done better.
  • Enhancing the results of digitisation: various applications connect the act of digitisation with required data processes for the use of the data.   What are the latest techniques, have they been applied at scale, do they work in the in the more challenging audio-visual areas?  We are interested in everything from 3D capture, OCR,  sound/video labelling, named entity recognition and feature detection, to machine or deep learning to help classify and categorise the digitised data.
  • Decentralisation vs Centralisation: We know that aggregation works as a process to bring together disparate data, standardised, normalise it and make it available to other parties, but we also know that this is labour intensive, very hierarchical, and does not distribute knowledge and expertise. On the other hand more decentralised ways of working have yet to be really proven in practice. Presentations that give the latest thinking on how we can best enable access to cultural heritage data and reduce friction costs are welcome, particularly with evaluation on the relative strengths and weaknesses.
  • Multilingualism: Google has more or less cracked full text translation of mainstream languages, but we are still struggling with niche languages and metadata. Presentations that evaluate the current thinking or give insights into the latest work in the area would fit well in this section of the creation and use of multilingual data in Cultural Heritage.


  • User Interaction: Search is still the dominant means of gaining access to the wealth of cultural heritage data now online, but does it represent that wealth? Search is ungenerous: it withholds information, and demands a query, what are the alternatives? Papers on generous interfaces and frictionless design are sought to shed new light on how Cultural Heritage can show itself more deeply. Evaluating the benefits and weaknesses to the user in the process.
  • Artificial Intelligence: For this subject topics ranging from machine learning to neural network-based approaches to Cultural Heritage are welcome. This includes applications of AI from image feature recognition to natural language processing, and from building search interfaces on features/colour similarity between images and discovery to the use of human metadata and computer vision.  We would also be interested in the audio and moving image equivalents. Anything dealing with the combination of metadata tags, image similarity and machine learning based on user input would be very relevant as would Artificial Intelligence technology for content curation.


  • Digital Innovation: The corporate culture of our memory institutions, set up to preserve and conserve our heritage and the organisation of digital innovation are not a marriage made in heaven.  The Labs/Skunkworks model is increasingly seen at best as an interim stage and at worst as a dead end for organising innovation. So how should GLAMs go about organising for digital innovation? How can governments and/or funders best support digital transformation of the GLAM-sector?
  • Evaluation techniques: Evaluation should be part of everything we do in the publicly funded space of most of cultural heritage, but the how is struggling to gain a common language, one that we can apply so funders get a picture of the project within its broader context.  Evaluation has been requested to be part of all papers submitted but the latest in techniques and agreement on a framework for the sector would constitute useful insights.
  • Open source community: What is the health and standing of the open source community within the cultural heritage sector? Does it thrive or is it a nice idea that is not a reality?  How can projects with a limited lifespan create and sustain products for the sector at large while developing and engaging a thriving community around them? From digitisation to search engine development should there be more emphasis on the need for vibrant open source communities and more resources  to realizing them? Papers on barriers and successes are requested.



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