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Response to Review of Europeana Newspapers

On behalf of the whole Europeana Newspapers team, I would like to express our gratitude to Bob Nicholson for his thorough and insightful review of the Europeana Newspapers portal. Apparently, great effort went into investigating and appropriately conveying both, the advantages and the shortcomings of the approach pursued in the Europeana Newspapers project  and how they are reflected in the current site’s functionality. The level of detail given in the review regarding the collections of newspapers that are available and the way they are presented in the portal at The Europeana Library will certainly be immensely helpful for many researchers, but also librarians working on making their newspapers available digitally. We are especially grateful to Bob Nicholson for his kind words of criticism regarding the current search functionalities offered, and will be working to address these issues alongside the migration and re-launch of Europeana Newspapers as a dedicated Europeana thematic collection in the second half of 2016. 

In order to provide some more information on the past, recent and upcoming developments for Europeana Newspapers, I would like to take this opportunity to share the following remarks and clarifications:


  1. As Bob Nicholson pointed out, due to the aggregation of newspapers from many different data providers, some concessions had to be made regarding the level of access and/or means of presentation of some newspapers. It may help to explain that the content aggregated by the Europeana Newspapers project stems mainly from 12 libraries who were full project partners, but also from 11 associated partners, who did not receive funding from the European Commission, and nevertheless contributed data to the project. While the vast majority of content from full project partners is available with full-text and zoomable images, a lack of resources meant that the same could not always be achieved for the content from associated partners. However, Europeana will be working on a better integration of content from associated partners as well as new data providers to provide the most complete, even and rich presentation possible.


  1. A few exciting technical developments are taking place in 2016 that should improve the usability of the collection significantly: first, the whole collection is being migrated to the new Europeana cloud infrastructure, which will improve the robustness and speed of the site by a vast degree. Second, a special API will be launched that enables programmatic access to and harvesting of the data in much finer-grained ways than currently possible via the search portal. Finally, as part of the migration and re-launch of Europeana Newspapers as a thematic collection fully integrated with the new Europeana portal, also the search will be redesigned and further extended. 


  1. The Europeana Newspapers project and its partners are fully committed to opening up access to these collections and to removing barriers for research and reuse wherever possible. Together with Europeana Research, we will be working to ease access to the data for large-scale data analysis and mining purposes. In a first step, we recently released the full-text of approximately 5m pages of public domain newspaper pages for download via Europeana Research: