My experiences with Europeana
At the 2019 conference of Europeana (27-29 December 2019 in the National Library of Portugal, Lisbon) I had one of the biggest surprises of my life being called forward as one of the Unsung Heroes! Europeana started awarding unsung heroes last year as way of recognising “those whose contribution to the Europeana movement sometimes goes under the radar” The call for nominations in 2019 stated: “There is no praise comparable to that of your peers, so in 2019 we are again asking you to nominate your unsung heroes who have gone above and beyond expectations for the cause of Europeana and digital transformation of cultural heritage.”
I was really touched by the combination of several gestures of kindness — of those who nominated me, those who voted for me and those who put my description on the token of appreciation presented to the unsung heroes. The Europeana Network is quite a sizeable one with over 2000 members working across heritage institutions, academia and(or) sharing an interest in digital cultural heritage.
I was also surprised because the voice of a researcher is not always the most welcome voice. We by nature tend to analyse, point at aspects which may be improved — but such suggestions may be seen as untimely complications within the practitioners’ realm.
I am very grateful for the immense opportunities for professional growth I personally had around Europeana. I got involved with it as early as 2008 when I joined a working group working on its functional specification. In 2010 I coordinated an international study which explored why young people are not using Europeana more – we had focus groups in Bulgaria, Italy, the Netherlands and Scotland and we also did what the very first eye-tracking study I am aware of on a digital library interface.
Most recently I joint the task force exploring the researchers’ needs in re-use of digital collections (watch the space for more details on its work!).
Here is my most popular Europeana-graphy:
- Dobreva, M., Angelova, G., Agre, G. (2015) Bridging the Gap between Digital Libraries and eLearning. Cybernetics and Information Technologies, Vol. 15 (4). De Gruyter. 92—110.
- Sykes, J., Dobreva, M., Birrell, D., McCulloch, E., Ruthven, I, Ünal, Y., Feliciati, P. (2010). A New Focus on End Users: Eye- Tracking Analysis for Digital Libraries, In: Lalmas, M., Jose, J., Rauber, A., Sebastiani, F., Frommholz, I (eds), Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (Proceedings of ECDL 2010), LNCS 6273, Springer, pp. 510—513.
- Dobreva, M., McCulloch, E., Birrell, D., Ünal, Y., Feliciati, P. (2010). Digital Natives and Specialised Digital Libraries: A Study of Europeana Users. In: S. Kurbanoğlu et al. (Eds.): IMCW 2010, CCIS 96, pp. 45—60. Springer, Heidelberg.
- Dobreva, M., Chowdhury, S. (2010). A User-Centric Evaluation of the Europeana Digital Library. In: Chowdhury, G., Khoo, C., Hunter, J. (Eds.) The Role of Digital Libraries in a Time of Global Change. Proc. Of the 12th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries, ICADL 2010, Gold Coast, Australia, June 21-25, 2010, LNCS 6102, 148—157.
- Dobreva, M. et al. (2010). User and Functional Testing. Final report. Europeana v. 1