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Europeana, the European digital library, museum and archive is a prototype portal offering users direct access to more than 4 million digital objects, including film material, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers.
The portal was launched on 20 November 2008 by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, in Brussels. According to the European Commission's plan, by 2010 it will include about 10 million digital objects.
The Europeana portal was created under EDLnet, a Thematic Network funded by the European Commission under the eContentplus Programme. It started in July 2007 and its work has now been taken over by its successor Europeanav1.0.

Europeana group
The Europeana group comprises a number of projects part-funded by the European Commission’s eContentplus programme, which will be contributing technology solutions and content to
EuropeanaConnect is part of this group. Access the projects' list here.

Projects of interest in the context of the creation of Europeana

ARROW (Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works towards Europeana)
Launched in December 2008, it is working towards the creation of an infrastructure for the management of any type of rights information, thus facilitating the actual implementation of innovative business models for both digital libraries and private digital content providers. The project will also create a European distributed registry of orphan works and access to network of existing clearance centres for out of print works.

CACAO (Cross-language access to catalogues and on-line libraries)
The aim of this project is to enhance the multilingual capabilities of on-line digital libraries. As a result of the project's work, users will be able to type queries in their own language and retrieve documents and objects in any available language. The sound integration of CACAO's infrastructure designed for multilingual purposes with current digital library and catalogue systems will be obtained by coupling natural language processing techniques with existing information retrieval systems. As part of the Cacao Project three thematic portals for multilingual books, documents search about History of Europe, Mathematics and Geography have been developed. They are accessible from the project web site.

Started on 1 February 2009 with a duration of three years, the project will develop an Emulation Access Platform to enable accurate rendering of both static and dynamic digital objects: text, sound, and image files; multimedia documents, websites, databases, videogames etc. The overall goal of the project is to facilitate universal access to cultural heritage by developing flexible tools for accessing and storing a wide range of digital objects.
The project is funded under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission.

Started on 1 September 2009 and lasting for two years, this project will create a single access point to digital content and information on European museums' collections of musical instruments.

The acronym stands for Semantic Web-based Thematic European Reference Network Application. The project includes twelve European Natural History Museums and related institutions which hold content on biodiversity, wildlife and nature in general and that are working together to contribute their collections to the European Digital Library - Europeana.
STERNA specifically addresses small cultural heritage institutions and content providers that want to actively participate and contribute to Europeana but lack technical skills and financial resources.