Digital meets Culture
Export date: Sun May 19 8:24:56 2024 / +0000 GMT

PAGODE, an effort for annotating digital heritage collections

image: Wereldculturen Museum CC-BY via Europeana

PAGODE - Europeana China is a project aiming to highlight digital collections of Chinese heritage, with a particular attention on those made available by various cultural heritage institutions in Europeana, the European digital library. Many of those collections would benefit from additional and richer information (i.e. metadata) to make the resources more visible and easily searchable.

Among the activities in PAGODE, a big effort is deployed to annotate and enrich with additional metadata a selection of existing collections from Europeana. This is done in two different actions:

  • Automated semantic enrichment: by the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence, additional metadata are extracted from the existing records. The additional metadata are then re-associated to the cultural resource, also adding links to authority files and established LOD thesauri. A human-in-the-loop approach in the validation of the enrichments guarantees the highest level of confidence for these AI-generated information, thus sending back to Europeana trustable metadata. This task is coordinated by partner PostScriptum.


  • Deep curatorial annotation on selected objects: this is also called the PAGODE Annotation Pilot, and the action makes use of a crowdsourcing platform, where users can access curated collections sourced from Europeana and manually "tag" each record with appropriate keywords about places, subjects and highly-specific terms related to Chinese heritage. This task is coordinated by partner Photoconsortium.


Both actions are based on specific lists of keywords developed by the Sinologists, specialized in Chinese heritage semantics, of the University of Ljubljana.

Expected outcomes:

While the automated semantic enrichments are now completed, offering additional metadata to over 20.000 existing records in Europeana, the Annotation Pilot is continuing all across the summer, expecting to offer back to Europeana over 3.000 items with curated annotations.

Two campaigns were deployed in the past months: Scenes and People of China, consisting in ca. 1.900 records annotated with over 26.000 tags; and Artefacts, consisting in ca. 600 records with over 6.900 tags.

Additionaly, a summer annotation sprint is currently ongoing with participation of students of digital humanities master courses at the University of Ljubljana and at KU Leuven. Expected result from the students' annotation sprint is to achieve additional 1.000 objects enriched with about 24.000 tags.

A dedicated seminar in the PAGODE Digital Festival series, set on 31st August 2021 h. 10.30, will showcase the impact of this crowdsourced annotation activity in terms of user engagement with digital cultural heritage and also in education.

PAGODE – Europeana China is co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility Programme of the European Union, under GA n. INEA/CEF/ICT/A2019/1931839