Sunday, 23 November 2008

Shut due to public demand


Opening and closing a new business on the same day would not normally be a good sign but things are a bit different for Europeana. This new website went on line last Thursday making available an initial two million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archival documents, paintings and films from national libraries and cultural institutions of the EU's 27 member states. The site was instantly overwhelmed by the 10 million visitors per hour it was receiving and crashed mid-morning, requiring a quick doubling of the number of servers supporting the library. It crashed again in the early evening.
Europeana is a project of the European Commission which commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at the launch described as being much more than a library, but "a veritable dynamo to inspire 21st century Europeans to emulate the creativity of innovative forbears like the drivers of the Renaissance."Some 1,000 cultural organisations have provided material, from the Louvre in Paris to Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum and the British Library. By 2010, the project hopes to hold some 10 million items.
The great paintings of Europe, the musical scores of the continent's finest composers and documents of profound historical importance - from the Magna Carta to Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring and Baudelaire's "Les Fleurs du Mal" - are now digitally available.
Website: europeana - European Digital Library
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