Want to see a digital copy of the Magna Carta? How about downloading an image of the original, handwritten score of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’? Or a photo of Galileo’s house? What about a painting by a Dutch Master (above)?
Try out Europeana—a hybrid of digital library, museum and archive, which is part of a 2-year project that began in July 2007 to give users a single, all-purpose site where they could access some 2 million “digital objects,” including film material, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers. The content was selected from material already digitized and available from separate European museums, libraries and audio-visual collections; the site’s creators hope to have 10 million digital objects by late 2010.
Currently available only in English, it should soon be in French and German, with other languages added later.
The project is run by a core team based in the national library of the Netherlands, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. It builds upon the project management and technical expertise developed by The European Library, which is a service of the Conference of European National Librarians.
Overseeing the project is the EDL Foundation.
As for who is the girl in the painting above, and why the artist painted her . . . that’s still a mystery, says the website of the Royal Picture Gallery of the Mauritshuis, the museum in The Hague which houses the original.
Image of 'Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ by Jan Vermeer, courtesy of European Digital Library