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'EuropeanaConnect' opens door to Europe's sound collections

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Fourteen European Union member states have joined forces to form 'EuropeanaConnect', an EU-funded project that will channel digital content from Europe's sound collections into cultural digital library, Europeana.eu. The project will make 100 000 audio files available for download to mobile devices from the website.

EuropeanaConnect is one of several projects channelling content to Europeana.eu, a website that currently links to nearly 5 million digital resources from the museums, archives, libraries and audiovisual collections of Europe.

The new project is also working on legal issues, including the licensing of copyright materials and the integration of services such as e-books-on-demand. A fully-operational Europeana service is expected by April 2011, with key features including multilingual searching and mobile device interfaces.

'EuropeanaConnect could enable a cultural revolution in the educational infrastructure,' says Johanna Rachinger, Director General of the Austrian National Library. 'Never before has it been so easy to listen to the actual music, browse through composer's manuscripts, view scores, find portraits and birth certificates of musicians and their families, have access to authentic mail correspondence and compare it from several archives and library sources at once.'
 
Europeana.eu was launched in November 2008 by the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. At the launch the portal attracted millions of hits, and by 2011 it will provide access to 25 million digital files, including music, interviews, paintings, video, documents, books, archival records, newspapers, photographs from museums, archives and libraries of Europe.