There is a famous Dutch song by Harry Jekkers, called ‘Oh Oh Den Haag’, of which the refrain literally translates to “Oh Oh The Hague, beautiful city, behind the dunes”. And indeed, Den Haag, as the Dutch say it (with a ‘g’ that is unpronounceable ‘g’ for many foreigners) is a nice city to live and work in. In this blogpost, we’ll give you a short introduction to the city, which will host the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit.
The Hague is not only well-known as the seat of the Dutch government, it also has a long history and many beautiful museums. The city was home to writers such as Louis Couperus and Spinoza, and painters including Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Vincent van Gogh. As of today, the Parliament convenes near the historical Binnenhof, most of which was built in the 13th century.
While visiting The Hague, be sure to go to the Panorama Mesdag, which gives you a view of the seaside (the town of Scheveningen to be exact) as it was in 1881. It is the biggest painting in The Netherlands, measuring 14 metres in height and a circumference of 120 metres.
Den Haag is less known for its canals, which is a shame: there is still a canal system in place that allows you to see much of the inner city by boat. An interesting canal is the Bierkade (‘beer quay’) – this is the place where beer was brought into the city from Delft, as beer brewing was forbidden in The Hague during the 17th century.
For those who are interested in architecture, het Vredespaleis (The Peace Palace) is certainly worth a visit. Building of the palace commenced in 1907 after receiving funding from Andrew Carnegie. It is often called the seat of international law because it houses the International Court of Justice.
Another landmark building in The Hague is that of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The building was designed by the famous architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. It was his last big work before he died in 1934. The museum is interesting to a broad audience; you can find modern art, fashion, musical instruments and old prints.
Another very nice museum in The Hague is the Mauritshuis. The building itself is already a work of art in itself, and it houses many works of art from the Golden Century, by painters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Steen and Frans Hals.
The city will turn into a stronghold during the 24-25 March Nuclear Security Summit, which will be attended by more than 50 world leaders. The first thing they will probably see when they enter the city is the Malieveld, a big grass-covered terrain well-known for its demonstrations and festivals. In the 19th century, the area was used for horse trading.
Hopefully you liked this short introduction to Den Haag. If you would like to see more of the city, don’t forget to search the Europeana portal. You’ll find many historical documents, paintings and photos of the city. Oh, and if you do come, Europeana even has a free map of The Hague. Just keep in mind that it dates from 1570!
If you know your Gucci from your Pucci, are proficient in French and are looking to make contacts within the fashion world in Paris, this may just be the event for you.
Not only will you learn how to write on Wikipedia, editathons are also a great way to meet like-minded people from all corners of the fashion sector and there will be plenty of networking opportunities during the breakfast, lunch and drinks after.
The edit-a-thon will take place in the beautiful library of Les Arts Décoratifs © Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
You can also participate in a tour of the museum’s latest fashion exhibition Dries Van Noten – Inspirations. The exhibition perfectly complements the theme of the day ‘Fashion and Craftsmanship’, as Dries Van Noten is known for his intricate detailing.
Participating in the fashion editathon is entirely free. You can register via email@example.com.
Please note that an introduction to writing on Wikipedia will take place at Les Arts Décoratifs on 13 March from 16:00-18:00. The working language for both days is French. You can find more information on the website of Les Arts Décoratifs.
Programme 22 March (subject to minor changes):
8:30-9:00 welcome with a small French breakfast
9:30-10:00 start writing
13:15-14:00 exhibition visit Dries Van Noten – Inspirations
14:00-17:00 continue writing, snacks and drinks available
17:00-17:30 putting text online, end of session
You probably wouldn’t associate cannons with entertaining pictures, but we’ve managed to find some amusing and often adorable pictures with these damaging pieces of artillery. Cannons were first used in Europe during the 11th and 12th centuries. In the Middle Ages the cannon became standardised, becoming more effective in both the anti-infantry and siege roles. After the Middle Ages most large cannons were abandoned as they were too heavy and too difficult to maneuver with. Cannons weren’t only used on mainland, they became a popular artillery in naval warfare as well.
These vintage pictures below were taken in 1915, during the First World War. They show that even during darker times, entertaining situations still take place. Fire away!
All images are from the French National Library – Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Public Domain. Aggregated to Europeana through the European Library.
With the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia, it seems a good time to take a look at Europeana’s Russian collections.
60,000 items come from a range of institutions in Russia: the Rybinsk State Architectural, Historical and Art Museum Preserve, the Chouvashia State Art Museum, the Russian State Library, the National Library of Russia, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Arkhangelsk Regional Scientific Library, the Saratov State Art Museum after A.N. Radishev, the Museum of History of the Kasan State University, The National Library of Republic of Karelia, and Museum – Cyclorama “Kursk Battle. Belgorod Direction”.
Geographically, Russia is the largest country in the world at over 17 million square kilometres in size. In terms of population, it’s ninth in the world.
Russia has given us Chekhov, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin), the periodic table of elements, but not, as you might think, vodka – that’s originally from Poland. Its history is rich and diverse. Here is just a small selection of the items you can find in Europeana that give you a flavour of Russia’s cultural heritage…
Enter the Europeana Creative Challenge and win a tailor-made support package to bring your product successfully to the market!
Europeana is a database of about 30 million cultural and historical documents, images, sound and video files from Europe’s museums, libraries, galleries and archives. The Europeana API allows you to access to most of the collections and incorporate them into things like apps, games, websites, even creating mash-ups using other APIs. The possibilities are endless.
We’re looking for creative developers and entrepreneurs to use Europeana’s collections to create applications for a range of themes – natural history education, history education, tourism, design and social media.
We’re running challenges on each topic, and the first two, natural history and history education, are open now! Need some inspiration? We’ve created some pilot apps to show you the kinds of things you could do with Europeana’s content and a bit of imagination.
• First World War Learning Activities (from EUROCLIO/Webtic)
• Night at the museum adventure game (National Museum Prague/Museum for Natural History Berlin/Exozet)
• Natural history memory card game (National Museum Prague/Semantika)
Could you develop our pilots to make them bigger? Or do you have something completely different in mind? If it uses Europeana’s content and fits the history or natural history education theme, then enter the Challenge!
How to Enter
All applications should be submitted here: http://ecreativeeducation2014.istart.org
March 31st 2014
The winners for each theme will be invited to pitch their ideas on April 29, 2014 at The Egg in Brussels. The overall winners (one per theme) will receive a hands-on “Incubation” Support Package provided by the project consortium to bring his/her product successfully to the market.
This Support Package may include consultation with experts on a wide range of subjects, such as financial management, business models, intellectual property management; access to specialised testing environments; facilitation of access to investments and business partnerships and marketing and promotion support as required to bring the winning product successfully to the market.
Find out more about Europeana Creative and its challenges at europeanacreative.eu.If you have any further questions about your application, you can contact us at EuropeanaCreative@onb.ac.at or just drop us a question via @eCreativeEU on Twitter or on our Europeana Creative Facebook page.
The 22nd Winter Olympics start today in Sochi, Russia. It’s the first time Russia has ever hosted the winter games and it’ll be the most expensive games ever (more expensive than all the winter games that have gone before it put together!). Organisers also hope it will be the greenest, most environmentally-aware games ever staged, and with an average February temperature in Sochi of 8.3 Celsius, it’s also the warmest.
6,000 athletes from 85 countries will take part in 98 events covering 15 different sports, almost all of which mean throwing yourself down an icy or snowy incline at breakneck speed, avoiding obstacles or performing tricks in the process.
To get you in the spirit for some winter sporting action, here are just some of the Winter Olympics related items you can find in Europeana.
To complement the re-launch of the Europeana 1914-1918 website, which now gives you access to personal stories from the First World War, as well as national library and cinematic collections, the British Library has launched a site to inspire teachers, students and everyone interested in learning more about World War One.
Supported by over 500 historical sources from across Europe, this resource examines key themes in the history of World War One. Explore a wealth of original source material, over 50 newly-commissioned articles written by historians, teachers’ notes and more to discover how war affected people on different sides of the conflict.
‘London Opinion 05/09/1914, front page’, British Library, unknown copyright status
Taking a pan-European and international approach, the website includes 500 digitised collection items from the archives of 11 European libraries. Expert commentary and interviews, sharing contemporary research, and original documents and images, provide information in engaging and compelling ways. Key themes explored on the site include: Origins and Outbreak, Recruitment of Conscripts and Volunteers, Daily Life on the Battlefield, The War Machine, Race, Empire and Colonial Troops, Gender Expectations and Roles, Propaganda on a Global Scale and Aftermath – Redrawing Europe’s Map.
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland
So, what do educators themselves think of the site? Here’s what Professor David Stevenson from the London School of Economics and Political Science has to say about it: ‘This brand new website will be an invaluable resource for teachers in secondary and higher education but also for anyone with an interest in the First World War during the centenary of that conflict. Using the latest interactive technology, the website is unique in its international and comparative approach, drawing on a wealth of previously inaccessible source and study material supplied by a consortium of 11 leading European libraries. The texts and pictures in the collection are supplemented by commentaries from an international panel of experts that have been specially commissioned in order to take full account of the most recent developments in historical research.’
‘Austrian poster advertising the ’8th war bonds’, Österreichisher Nationalbibliothek, free from known copyright restrictions
The website is part of a wider pan-European commemoration of WW1, Europeana 1914-1918, (www.europeana1914-1918.eu), which received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.
Stuck for something to read? Never fear – Europeana is never more than a couple of clicks away. Thanks to the digitisation efforts of our partners, there are many classic books you can find on Europeana and read online – in a variety of languages – for free and without having to buy an expensive e-reader! In fact, Europeana was recently cited as number 2 in a list of 25 sources of free public domain eBooks. Here are just a few examples of the classics you can find on Europeana…
Image: ‘Titelprent van Don Quichotte’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
Image: ‘[Madame Bovary : lot de photographies de spectacle / Roger Pic]‘, French National Library, public domain
Image: ‘Anna Karenina’, Mazowiecka Biblioteka Cyfrowa, public domain
Image: ‘Les Miserables’, French National Library, public domain
Read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo in French
Image: ‘Costume from the performance Alice in Wonderland’, Muzeum, Institute of Art Production, Mediation and Publishing, Ljubljana, Slovenia, CC BY-NC-ND
Europeana 1914-1918 now brings together resources from three major European projects each dealing with different types of First World War material. That means that national collections from libraries now sit alongside personal stories and treasures as well as important film archives. Together, this creates a unique perspective of the First World War, showing it from every side of the battle lines and with insights from every point of view. Over time, even more material will be added to this archive so please keep coming back!
So, what has the site got?
The new-look home page of Europeana 1914-1918!
Stories from the public: We’re still collecting the public’s previously unpublished letters, photographs and keepsakes from the war. So far, a dozen countries have taken part in our family history roadshows, digitising over 90,000 items and adding more than 7,000 stories.
Browse Europeana 19194-1918 by topic
National collections: The Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project has produced a substantial digital collection of over 400,000 pieces of material from national libraries in eight countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict. Check out the video below which provides a glimpse into the content from Europeana Collections 1914-1918.
Film archives: The European Film Gateway 1914 project gives us 660 hours of films and related material on the First World War including newsreels, documentaries, fiction films, propaganda and anti-war films. This material is especially important since only around 20% of the complete silent film production of the era has survived.
Example search results on the new-look Europeana 1914-1918
And there’s even more: You can also find material on this site from other European collections and projects, as well as information from outside Europe – from the Digital Public Library of America, Trove (Australia), and Digital New Zealand.
Film still from La Belgique martyr, BE 1919, Dir: Charles Tutelier, Source : Cinémathèque royale de Belgique
Tell us what you think by tweeting us @europeana1914
Willkommen auf Europeana 1914-1918 mit neuem Design!
Willkommen auf Europeana 1914-1918 – mit neuem Design!
Wir haben die Inhalte auf dieser Website deutlich erweitert und verbessert – und hoffen, dass sie Ihnen gefällt.
Ab sofort führt Europeana 1914-1918 führt Material aus drei großen europäischen Projekten zusammen. Neben persönlichen Geschichten von Privatpersonen finden Sie nun auch Bibliotheksbestände sowie Filme aus europäischen Filmarchiven. Zusammen betrachtet ermöglicht dies einen ganz neuartigen Blick auf den Ersten Weltkrieg, der Perspektiven unterschiedlicher Akteure auf das Kriegsgeschehen zusammenführt. Wir ergänzen übrigens ständig neue Materialien – es lohnt sich also, regelmäßig vorbeizuschauen!
Was gibt es auf Europeana 1914-1918 zu entdecken?
Persönliche Geschichten: Wir sammeln fortlaufend private Briefe, Fotos und Erinnerungsstücke aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg. Bislang haben in zwölf Ländern Aktionstage stattgefunden, um Materialien von Privatpersonen zusammenzutragen. Über 80.000 digitale Dateien und mehr als 8.000 persönliche Geschichten, die wir auf diese Weise zusammengetragen haben, können Sie mittlerweile auf Europeana 1914-1918 finden.
Sammlungen von Staatsbibliotheken: Das Projekt Europeana Collections 1914-1918 hat eine umfangreiche Sammlung von mehr als 400.000 digitalisierten Dokumenten beigesteuert, darunter Bücher, Zeitschriften, Landkarten, Fotos, Poster, Medaillen und Münzen. Der Bestand setzt sich aus Materialien aus acht europäischen Ländern zusammen, die sich im Ersten Weltkrieg zum Teil als Feinde gegenüberstanden.
Sammlungen von Filmarchiven: Das Projekt European Film Gateway 1914 stellt rund 660 Stunden digitalisierte Filme und über 5.600 filmbezogene Materialien online. Unter anderem finden Sie Wochenschauen, Dokumentationen, Propaganda- und Spielfilme, aber auch Filmplakate und -zeitschriften. Nur geschätzte 20 Prozent aller Filme aus dieser Zeit sind überliefert, weshalb die hier zugänglichen Filmdokumente einen besonders wichtigen Korpus darstellen.
Darüber hinaus können Sie bei uns Materialien zum Ersten Weltkrieg auch aus weiteren europäischen Projekten recherchieren und auch in manchen außereuropäischen Sammlungen, etwa der Digital Public Library of America (USA), Trove (Australien) und Digital New Zealand (Neuseeland).
Wie gefällt Ihnen unsere Website? Wir freuen uns auf Ihr Feedback, gerne auch über Twitter @europeana1914
We just released an upgrade to the Europeana Open Culture app! The new version of the app brings enhanced functionality, new content and a more user-friendly layout. The app is available in seven languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Bulgarian, and Swedish) and for all Apple and Android tablets.
The Europeana Open Culture app lets you explore hand-picked and beautiful image collections from some of Europe’s top cultural institutions. You can browse, share and download for free more than 350,000 high-resolution images from four themes: Maps and Plans, Images of the Past, Treasures of Art and Treasures of Nature.
You can search by keyword (now in any language!) or within a theme and narrow down your search by using a range of filters. Results will be shown as an interactive mosaic of image thumbnails which continuously refreshes as you scroll. Pick your favourite image, comment on it, share it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, or create your own personal virtual museum.
What’s more, you can now download the hi-res image for free and use it however you want to – for your work, study or leisure projects. If you are a developer, you can re-use the app code (Europeana Open Culture is open source) on Github and build your own app.
The memory of the First World War, its events and consequences, its victims and victors, remains very much alive today. It has become part of the individual and collective memory of Europe and of countries across the world – the stories of soldiers and their families continue to be told and published from generation to generation. To mark the centenary of its outbreak in 2014, a consortium of national libraries and other partners from eight European countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict will make an unparalleled collection of more than 400,000 digitised items relating to the First World War freely available to the public for the first time through the Europeana online portal.
As part of the Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project, the consortium members will be adding a new blog post every month that looks at some of the stories behind just a few of these 400,000 images. This month, the Berlin State Library shares the story of a map containing a bullet hole and the death of an extraordinary man.
The corners of this handcrafted map are covered with mud. And it has a hole – apparently a bullet hole. This bullet probably brought an end to the life of one of the most outstanding German writers during the First World War, Walter Flex. Flex was a war volunteer and author of the widely-read war novel Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten (The Wanderer between Two Worlds), written after his best friend had been killed in the field.
The place and field names on the map reveal the location: it shows trees, swampland, lakes, villages and cottages on the Baltic island Saaremaa just off the shore of Estonia, which at that time belonged to Russia. Walter Flex and his division had landed on this island in October 1917 to attack the Russians. After three days of struggling, the Russians capitulated and delivered their weapons, but one of the soldiers refused to yield and shot Walter Flex. The bullet tore his right forefinger off, entered his body and got stuck near the stomach. He left a last line: ’Dear parents! I dictate this postcard as I’m slightly wounded at the forefinger of my right hand. Besides this, I am well off. There’s no room for worry whatsoever. Love, Walter.’ The next day he died, at the age of just 30, from his internal injuries.
In his bag there was this map of the island Saaremaa. Today this map is part of the literary remains of Walter Flex kept in the manuscript department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
The Europeana 1914-18 portal—bringing together the Collections material profiled in this blog digitised material from great film collections of Europe, and personal unpublished documents about the War still held by the families of participants—will launch in Berlin at the end of January at the international ‘Unlocking Sources’ conference. For more information about this conference, including registration details, see the conference site.
An den Ecken einer handgefertigten Landkarte klebt Erde. Und sie hat ein Loch – offenbar das Einschussloch einer Kugel.
Diese Kugel hat wahrscheinlich das Leben eines der bedeutendsten deutschen Schriftsteller des Ersten Weltkrieges beendet: Walter Flex, Kriegsfreiwilliger der Ersten Stunde, schrieb die millionenfach gelesene Erzählung „Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten“, nachdem sein bester Freund gefallen war.
Die Orts- und Flurnamen auf der Landkarte verraten es: sie zeigt Bäume, Sümpfe, Seen, Dörfer und Häuser auf der baltischen Insel Ösel, die Estland vorgelagert ist, aber damals zu Russland gehörte. Walter Flex war im Oktober 1917 mit seiner Division auf der Insel gelandet, um die Russen zu schlagen. Nach drei Tagen waren die Kämpfe beendet, die Russen ergaben sich und sollten ihre Waffen abliefern. Nur einer weigerte sich und schoss auf Walter Flex. Die Kugel riss ihm den rechten Zeigefinger ab und drang dann in seinen Leib ein. Sein letztes Lebenszeichen: „Liebe Eltern! Diese Karte diktiere ich, weil ich am Zeigefinger der rechten Hand leicht verwundet bin. Sonst geht es mir sehr gut. Habt keinerlei Sorge. Viele herzliche Grüße Euer Walter.“ Am nächsten Tag starb er, gerade 30-jährig, an seinen inneren Verwundungen.
In seiner Tasche steckte eine Landkarte der Insel Ösel. Sie ist heute Bestandteil des Nachlasses Walter Flex in der Handschriftenabteilung der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is probably the world’s most recognisable work of art. It’s also one of the most copied and parodied paintings in history, often the subject of many of today’s internet’s memes. Now computer science has taken this one step further – you can now actually become the Mona Lisa. An experimental interactive website allows you to wear Mona Lisa’s face thanks to a technology called ‘face substitution’. Anyone with a decent computer, internet browser and webcam can now substitute his or her own face with Mona Lisa’s, along with other famous faces such as Picasso. It’s not only great fun, but it also gives you a glimpse of how art from the past can now be used in creative and new interactive ways.
The demo is very simple. Just visit this website, allow the program to use your webcam, keep your face still until the application has aligned with yours, and try out different faces from the dropdown menu. You will not only find the Mona Lisa and Picasso, but also famous actors such as George Clooney, Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn.
The face substitution demo works best with good lighting conditions. The demo, which was developed by Audun Mathias Øygard, needs support for WebGL, and works best in Google Chrome.
So, who will you become?
255 years ago today, the British Museum opened its doors. It was the first ever national public museum. As a public museum, it was free to all and aimed to attract ‘all studious and curious persons’. Today, it’s stronger than ever, having just announced record visitor figures!
Studious and curious persons study specimens at the British Museum in this George Cruickshank caricature. The guide tells the visitors that the pictures of men on the wall – Yorkshire Jim, Bristol Bill and Brummegan (Birmingham) Joe - are examples of a race of men all now extinguished!
You can find over 8,000 items relating to the British Museum in Europeana.
The museum hasn’t always been housed in the iconic columned building we recognise today. To begin with, it was in a mansion called Montagu House – on the site of the existing museum. But this soon became too small. For many years during the 1800s and early 1900s, construction work was carried out to demolish the existing buildings, along with many houses surrounding them, in order to build new wings and galleries. The result is the neo-classical British Museum as we now know it.
Did you know that Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace) was considered as a plot for the British Museum? But it was rejected for being too expensive and in an unsuitable location!
Did you also know that the British Library – one of the world’s two biggest libraries – has only been in existence since 1973? Before that, it was part of the British Museum.
Why not take a virtual tour through the British Museum’s galleries as they were in the 19th century with this series of wood engravings? See which rooms you can spot on this plan of the ground floor and listen to this recording from the Great Court in 2010. It’s almost like being there!
At Europeana we’re all ears and we want to hear what you think of the Europeana.eu website. Every two years we develop and publish an extensive survey in order for us to understand what you want to do and how you feel about using Europeana.eu to search, browse and share Europe’s cultural collections.
The feedback you provide will be invaluable in the future development of the Europeana.eu website, it will help us know more about who you are, how you rate our service and how you think Europeana compares with other services on the web. Over 5,000 people completed the last survey in 2009 and we want to make this one even bigger – remember that this is an opportunity to be heard and collectively help shape the future of Europe’s digital library, archive and museum.
So we’re asking for 5 minutes of your time and and in return we’ll offer you the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a Google Nexus 10 Android tablet. The Nexus 10 is a powerful 10-inch tablet from Google with a super high resolution display, multi-user support, immersive HD content and the best Google apps.
The survey is a available in 6 languages, so please complete the survey in the language of your choice:
Remember to enter your contact details to be in with a chance of winning that Google Nexus 10 tablet.
Jan van Goyen, prolific artist of the Dutch Golden Age, was born on 13 January 1596.
Van Goyen settled in The Hague, where he painted mostly landscapes, favouring the canals, villages and countryside of the area. He was rather prolific but his works rarely achieved high prices. To make them more cost effective to produce, he used inexpensive pigments and used them sparingly. He also added to his income by dabbling in art dealing, auctioneering and dealing in tulips and property! Despite his creativity, he ended up in great debt.
Jan was heavily influenced in his early years by his teacher, Esaias van de Velde. In turn, van Goyen’s work influenced many other painters – including one of his few pupils, Jan Steen (who incidentally married van Goyen’s daughter).
Whilst Van Goyen’s early paintings incorporate van de Velde’s traits of a high level of detail, strong colour use and crowded scenes, his later works are noted for their large skyscapes with low horizons, monochrome colours and impressive atmospheres.
Is this Jan van Goyen? The title of the drawing is ‘Portrait of an unknown man’, but it also bears a ‘former title’ of ‘Portrait of Jan van Goyen’. The description is non-committal just telling us it’s a portrait of a man with a hat on!
Below is just a small selection of the nearly 500 drawings and paintings of van Goyen’s that you can find on Europeana (see them all here). These ones all come from the French National Library and the Rijksmuseum.
Italian explorer Marco Polo was born on 15th September 1254 and died on the 8th or 9th January 1324. We’re not sure which because in Venetian law the day ends at sunset not midnight, so we only know he died more or less on this day 690 years ago.
‘Roma – Dettaglio del ritratto di Marco Polo – Tiziano – Gall. Doria’, Federico Zeri Foundation, public domain
It was Marco Polo’s book of his travels that introduced Europeans to China and Central Asia. Although he was not the first European to travel to China, he was the first to write about his adventures and so it was his experiences that formed the basis of early European knowledge of the country. For example, Marco Polo brought back the idea of paper money and some think his descriptions of coal, eyeglasses and a complex postal system eventually led to their widespread use in Europe.
Marco Polo’s book inspired Christopher Columbus and other explorers to begin their own adventures. You can find the book under various different titles – Book of the Marvels of the World or The Travels of Marco Polo or Description of the World (in English), Livre des merveilles du monde or Divisament du monde (in French), and Il Milione or Oriente Poliano (in Italian).
Extracts from a beautifully illustrated manuscript of ‘Livre des merveilles du monde’ (French National Library – public domain). For a more conventional and easier to read copy, try the printed version. Or if you want to listen to it in Italian, try the audio book.
Did you know that Marco Polo sometimes confused the animals he encountered in Asia with mythical creatures? It’s not altogether surprising, if you knew about unicorns and then saw a rhinocerous – an impressive beast with a horn – you might confuse them too!
Marco travelled the world (approximately 24,000 km of it!) for 24 years with his father and uncle. On returning to Venice with the riches and treasures they had gathered along the way, they found a city at war with Genoa. Marco joined the war but was captured in 1296 and put in prison. He spent his time telling his cellmate all about his travels. This friend wrote them down, along with some of his own stories. The resulting book, The Travels of Marco Polo, soon spread across the continent. Marco was released in 1299 and became a successful merchant in Venice.
Examples of maps based on Marco Polo’s travels, drawn in 1971, 1700 and 1865.
Did you know there’s a species of sheep named after Marco Polo? Other things named after the explorer include: a ship – the first to sail around the world in less than 6 months; Venice airport; a frequent flyer scheme in Hong Kong; and a video game character in the 2008 game Civilization Revolution.
We’re prolonging the season for giving and are pleased to present three new features on Europeana for you to make use of in 2014.‘Can I use it?’
Items in Europeana come with a licence that specifies whether and how you can use them. Perhaps you want to include an image in your school work, or to create a logo for your company, or incorporate a video into an app you’re designing – before doing any of these things you should check the licence to see if you can legally use it the way you wish. We’ve always showed you copyright information using the ‘By Copyright’ filter, but we’ve just made it a lot easier to understand with a new ‘Can I use it?’ feature.
When looking at your search results, check the ‘Can I use it?’ filter. There are three options:
Yes, with attribution – this means you can freely use the item but you should include details so that others know what the item is and where it is from. Give credit where credit is due.
Yes, with restrictions – this means you need to check the individual licences closely. It might be that the item you want can be used freely for non-commercial purposes but you need permission if you want to use it commercially, or that it can be used whole but cannot be amended (e.g. cropped, coloured or mixed with other resources).
Only with permission – this means that in order to use an item, you must have explicit permission from the licence holder. A good place to start here is to follow the link to the provider’s website and contact them.Play videos and sound
You can now access a range of videos and sound files directly from within Europeana, rather than following a link through to the provider’s own website. To do this, when looking at a search result, click on the thumbnail image/icon (where it says ‘Play’) and a media player will open.
This feature works for items that come from organisations who upload their videos to Vimeo or their audio to SoundCloud. The partners we’re piloting this with are the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Deutsche Kinemathek and the Austrian Film Museum.
Here are some of our favourite video/audio clips that you can play directly from Europeana:
We hope to add more collections so if you work for an organisation that provides video or audio to Europeana, please get in touch with us!New search widget
Got your own blog or website and want to include a Europeana search box? We’ve just improved our search widget. It’s really easy to configure – just follow the steps in the wizard. You could allow your users to search all of Europeana or a sub-section of results such as only results from within Public Domain or Creative Commons, or only licensed images from a specific country, or only videos on a topic related to your website.
You can choose black or white styles and either a simple search box or a search with a results preview. Once you’ve made your selections, simply copy and paste the code provided into your site.
The widget works on any site or CMS you host yourself and with hosted Blogger, Blogspot and Tumblr.
If you’re interested in the First World War, then you need to know about a great event we’re putting on in Berlin at the end of the month.
On 30-31 January, the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin is hosting ‘Unlocking Sources – the First World War Online & Europeana’. It’s partly a two-day conference but it’s actually much more than that.
If you can make it to Berlin, as well as attending the conference, you can visit the Staatsbibliothek’s special exhibition ‘Unlocking Sources: Europeana 1914-1918 – The Making Of’. It runs from 30 January to 8 February 2014 and presents outstanding holdings from the Staatsbibliothek’s own collections related to the First World War. The interactive exhibition illustrates the many ways in which a library collection can be used and combined with other internet offerings.
You can also go to two family history roadshows being held as part of the event – bring along your family’s First World War stories and memorabilia to add to the online archive. Experts will be on hand to digitise your objects and to tell you more about them.
Image from Europeana Collections 1914-1918
Finally, it’s an excuse to celebrate the launch of the new-look Europeana 1914-1918 website along with an educational site and a virtual exhibition – and you can of course take advantage of these even if you can’t make it to Berlin.
The new version of the Europeana 1914-1918 website brings the public’s previously untold stories of the First World War together with official histories from national libraries and film footage of the era. It also incorporates collections from outside Europe – search the Digitial Public Library of America, Australia’s Trove and Digital New Zealand. This makes the site one of the world’s largest databases of objects related to the First World War. Search by themes related to life at or behind the front such as the health service, economy, refugees, prisoners of war, youth literature, art, music, or caricatures. Study and compare materials from different countries and in different languages. Discover the First World War from all angles and all perspectives.
The virtual exhibition ‘Places of transition’ presents around 90 objects characterising nine places which are typical of the First World War, for example, the railway station, the camp, the headquarters, the hospital, the barrack yard, and the factory – all places where life could take a decisive turn. From civilian to soldier, from intellectual to commander, from soldier to injured veteran, from housewife to factory worker, the exhibition shows how lives were transformed by war and war-related events.
For the teachers and students amongst you, the new multimedia e-learning website ‘The First World War’, offers several hundred outstanding resources and videos from all over Europe as well as accompanying teaching materials.
Blog first posted on the Europeana Fashion blog.
What do Chanel’s interlocking Cs and Louboutin’s red sole have in common? The answer is they are all protected by intellectual property rights (IPR). As many professionals in the cultural and creative industry often face IPR, Europeana Fashion has decided to release its guidelines on how to manage IPR when publishing content online.
An example from the IPR Guidelines
So what does IPR mean exactly? IPR means someone has ownership over a creation or invention and that this ownership is protected by law. For example, other fashion houses are not allowed to use the interlocking Cs of Chanel because this symbol is the intellectual property of Chanel and only Chanel is allowed to use it.
The importance of IPR in fashion is illustrated by legal disputes. For example, Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent recently went to court over the intellectual ownership of the red sole. Can Yves Saint Laurent also use the red sole on its shoes or does that idea solely ‘belong’ to Christian Louboutin?
These examples show that IPR is a valuable asset in the fashion industry and whether you create a new shoe or want to share a photo of that shoe online, it is important to understand your rights and respect the rights of others.
So when the cultural heritage organisations in the Europeana Fashion project decided they would publish images of their collections online, they also needed to think about the intellectual ownership of the objects in their collection.
That is why our partner the Victoria & Albert Museum wrote ‘best practice’ IPR guidelines. These guidelines support partners with selecting content they can publish online. They combine the most important IPR principles with ‘best practice’ flowcharts and useful documents.
Now we have decided to make these guidelines available to the public. While we think they can help other professionals in the cultural and creative industry, we also hope that they can promote awareness about publishing and sharing cultural material on the internet.
While these guidelines do not constitute legal advice and simplify a complex subject, we hope they go some way to reassuring you that by combining a little bit of law, logic and experience, you can handle intellectual property matter.
Pietro Metastasio, or Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi to give him his birth name, was born on 3 January 1698 in Rome and would grow up to become the most important writer of opera seria libretti. That is, of the words that went with serious Italian operas throughout much of the 1700s. The contrasting style at the time was opera buffa – comic opera.
As a child, Pietro was known to stand in the street and sort of busk – reciting verses and poems. One day, as all buskers hope, someone stopped to listen and that someone did the equivalent of signing him up to a record label. Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, the director of the Arcadian Academy, took Pietro under his wing and made him his protégé, then adopted him. It was Gravina who changed Pietro’s name from Trapassi to Metastasio to make it sound more Greek.
Gravina gave Pietro a good education – giving him the opportunity to learn Latin and law as well as to develop (and show off) his talents for improvising poetry. When all of this became too much and Pietro’s health suffered, Gravina decided he should stop improvising and concentrate on completing his education, which he did. But Pietro carried on writing – at age 15, he wrote and published a tragedy called Giustino. Later in life, Pietro told his publisher he would rather keep these youthful writings to himself.
Gravina died when Pietro was 20 years old and left him a wealthy man – but he spent his fortune within two years and so had to knuckle down to his trade – practising law and moonlighting as a poet. He wrote poems for special occasions for the nobility – a poem for the wedding of his patroness, another for her birthday. The latter was set to music and received with great applause. Pietro tried to do this anonymously, but the soprano who sang the serenata, Mariana Bulgarelli, found him out and persuaded him to give up law. She introduced him to the great composers of the day, including Scarlatti, Marcello and Pergolesi, who would all set his poems and plays to music later on.
Between 1730 and 1740, Pietro, who had moved to Vienna, wrote his dramas Adriano, Demetrio, Issipile, Demofoonte, Olimpiade, Clemenza di Tito, Achille in Sciro, Temistocle and Attilio Regolo for the Imperial Theatre. Some of these were written incredibly quickly in time for an occasion. Impermestra, for example, was written in just 9 days.
Despite his early popularity, a combination of his common birth which kept him out of the society of the aristocracy in Vienna, the climate, and the tragedy of Bulgarelli dying, made Pietro withdraw from the world. But his works continued to be translated, set to music by the greats of the day, and performed in every capital by every singer of repute. However, as fashions changed and composers such as Mozart and Gluck, who had a very different style, came to the fore and castrati singing was in decline, a different kind of libretto was needed and Pietro’s work dropped out of the repertoire.
Pietro died in April 1782, aged 84.