Digital culture embraces tradition

EKT is working towards a seamless digital cultural experience, interconnecting data in diverse digital collections and promoting Greek culture, including folk arts, around the world.

The National Documentation Centre (EKT) has been participating in a new European project for digital culture, ‘CRAFTED: Enrich and promote traditional and contemporary crafts’, since September 2021. The aim of the project is to support conservation of folk arts for future generations, collecting, enriching and promoting knowledge resources, works of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and products of folk art.

EKT is working towards a seamless digital cultural experience, interconnecting data in diverse digital collections and promoting Greek culture, including folk arts, around the world. In recent years we have significantly expanded our know-how, actively participating in European development and research projects for the promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the integration of Greek digital cultural content in the European digital library Europeana.

Europeana Common Culture - Promoting Greek culture to international public

In December 2020, the European project ‘Europeana Common Culture’, co-ordinated by the Europeana Foundation, and with the participation of 24 organisations from all over Europe, including EKT, was completed. The project aimed to increase and improve Open Access content in the European digital library Europeana, to collaborate with national aggregators, to harmonise policies, technologies and network infrastructures and to disseminate Europeana’s work.

Particular emphasis was placed on strengthening the role of national cultural content aggregators and creating new ones in countries where they did not already exist, exchanging know-how between them, harmonising policies, technologies and infrastructure, and enabling a more comprehensive dissemination of not only their work but Europeana’s too. EKT participated in the project as an accredited National Aggregator through the infrastructure that it develops. The different content aggregators play an essential role in the organisation and operation of Europeana, which, a super-aggregator itself, depends on individual aggregators to harvest the content it collects.

Thematic aggregators have a pan-European scope, ie they focus on a subject or a field, such as audiovisual (EuScreen) or film archives (EuropeanFilmGateway), fashion (EuropeanaFashion), Jewish history (Judaica). Examples of national aggregators include (Greece), (Italy), (France), etc.

Accredited aggregators act, first of all, as intermediate nodes between the thousands of cultural institutions as well as institutions that have cultural collections throughout Europe, something that Europeana would not be able to achieve on its own. The primary responsibility of aggregators is to collect metadata and thumbnails  of digital items and to prepare them by mapping the content to the Europeana interoperability model, the Europeana Data Model, for dissemination. Through the Europeana Common Culture project, a total of 9,000,000 items, of which about half were new items added to Europeana, were significantly enriched, improving their quality, usability and re-use capability.

In addition, 76 editorials were created, including blogs, galleries and exhibitions, featuring 2,064 digitised cultural items from 385 cultural organisations of 34 countries.

EKT’s participation in them highlighted Greek content with articles on the Europeana blog about Karagiozis, traditional Greek bridal costumes and a journey through 120 years of the Olympic Poster. EKT also collaborated with project partners, contributing digital material to the dozens of thematic Exhibitions and Galleries created to tell European stories from many different perspectives aimed at highlighting diversity, pluralism, and collaboration between the peoples of Europe.

Following the closure of public places due to the pandemic, a creative idea of EKT was a virtual exhibition ‘The Great Indoors’, hosted by The exhibition, featuring works depicting indoor scenes inspired the Common Culture project team to develop a similar exhibition at Europeana.

At the same time, in order for the Greek public to be able to participate in this digital panorama developed for the project, EKT translated into Greek and published the above articles, as well as remarkable articles by project partners such as that on women’s work from the Swedish partners, while highlighting other actions of the project such as the tribute to the History of Labour that took place in the fall of 2019.

Upon completion of the project, EKT had collected, normalised and semantically enriched almost 500,000 items from 49 providers, increasing the total Greek content of Europeana by 300,000 new items.

Finally, the project organised a series of online seminars aimed at informing and improving the skills of participants around key topics such as crowdsourcing strategies, FAIR data, open licences, semantic enrichment, etc. See all the seminars here.

CRAFTED: Enrich and promote traditional and contemporary crafts - Aiming to preserve traditional arts for future generations

From September 2021 until June 2023, EKT is participating in the European project ‘CRAFTED: Enrich and promote traditional and contemporary crafts’. As part of the project, more than 180,000 items from 15 organisations will be available in Europeana and elaborate texts and actions will highlight the richness and variety of traditional techniques, trades and skills.

EKT will make over 5,500 items from 10 organisations available and will improve the overall quality of the documentation of the digital items of the folklore collections available at Europeana.

Finally, the project partners will take advantage of machine learning technologies for the semi-automatic annotation of digital items, which will help to improve the searchability of the material that is poorly documented. Upon completion of the project, EKT aims to have improved, quantitatively and qualitatively, the Greek content available on Europeana and specifically the collections of folk culture, both tangible and intangible.

For its part, EKT is continuing to work towards a Digital Public Space, where all publicly funded scientific, cultural and reputable public information will be quality controlled, accessible, interoperable, measurable, usable and with long-term availability.

In terms of cultural content, EKT, works, through and the networks in which it participates as an aggregator, for the development of a common language in matters of interoperability, openness and documentation. In this way it contributes to the digital transformation of the interconnected ecosystem of culture, aiming at value generation for citizens, GLAMs, the economy and society overall., with information from EKT, Europeana