LoCloud is a Best Practice Network of 31 partners, co-funded under the CIP ICT-PSP Programme of the European Commission. Its overall goal is to add to over 4 million digital resources from European cultural institutions to Europeana. Europeana is an on-line portal providing access to millions of digitised materials from European museums, libraries, archives and multimedia collections. LoCloud started on 1 March 2013 and will run for three years.
The project builds on the achievements of two past Best Practice Networks:
- CARARE (2010-2013), which supported Europe's network of heritage agencies and organisations, archaeological museums and research institutions and specialist digital archives in making the digital content for the archaeology and architectural heritage;
- EuropeanaLocal (2008-2011) whose collaboration with local institutions and their regional and national aggregators resulted in the contribution of nearly five million digital items to Europeana.
There are two main aspects in LoCloud's work:
- the exploration of the potential of cloud computing technologies for enhancing Europeana, working on the development of a cloud infrastructure (IaaS) and on the creation of software services (SaaS) aimed to benefit content providers and users;
- a specific focus on small and medium sized institutions, whose digital collections are still under-represented in Europeana.
In particular, LoCloud aims to facilitate the role of small and medium-sized institutions by:
- Supporting them in making their content and metadata available to Europeana, by using the cloud to provide services and tools which help to reduce technical, semantic and skills barriers.
- Making available cloud-based software services which enable them to render their content more discoverable and interoperable;
- Enabling smaller institution types such as house museums, which currently fall outside most aggregation infrastructures, to contribute their content to Europeana.
- Exploring the potential of cloud computing for aggregation, enrichment and re-use, with a special focus on geographic location.
- Exploring and trial a cloud based architecture as a scalable platform for Europeana metadata aggregation and harvesting with higher efficiency and reduced maintenance costs.
- Provide guidance, training and support facilities to serve the needs of content providers.
The consortium of LoCloud includes:
- a strong group of technical partners
- national and regional aggregation services or content providers who will both provide new content and act as pilot implementers of the cloud services.
- a number of partners acting as content providers representing specific content domains (such as ‘house museums’, specialised museums, public libraries and local archives).
- a group of partners with specific expertise in key aspects (e.g. vocabularies).