Reactions to Google Art Project

Wow! This is what I call NEWS! Today Google launched a new service called ‘Google Art Project’. Using Street View technology it enables visitors to pay a vivid visit to some of the worlds’ most famous cultural institutions.

As explained on the FAQ of the site, for now the following museums are included in the project:

* Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
* Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
* The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
* Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
* The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
* MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
* Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
* Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
* Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
* National Gallery, London – UK
* Palace of Versailles – France
* Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
* The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
* State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
* Tate Britain, London – UK
* Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
* Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands

Taken a quick scan of the first reactions on twitter (#googleartproject) and elsewhere, people seem to be amazed and excited about Google’s new project. So far I have only read some doubts on the site of the Telegraph.

Some elements that immediately caught my attention:

1. You can create your own collection (based on your favorites) and share it. You only need your Google account. The feature looks interesting, simple and easy. In other words: well done!

2. The quality of the pictures is amazing. Take this portrait of Marie Antoinette plus children at the palace of Versailles, France.

3. Officially, the copyright remains at the side of the participating institutions….

I wonder though what this means for I understand the point of view of the institutions that also (can) participate in Europeana. They wish to be visible to as many people as possible. Obviously Google is a great help in expanding one’s reach. But how will the European Commission react? What are the USPs of Europeana versus Google’s new initiative?

More information:

‘World’s museums go online with Google Street View’ (AFP)

‘The problem with Google’s Art Project‘ (Telegraph)

EU (culture) Projects launch Websites

Fleur updates you about two EU projects and mentions where you can find more information:


APENET will provide a common gateway to Europe’s archives and will inform visitors about archival material from across Europe.

Twelve European National Archives are involved in the project, and – as you may have expected – there is a strong interrelation with Europeana….

“Archives across the European Union will be easily accessible to EU citizens for the first time from a single entry point, and should improve public understanding of European history and culture. Therefore, APENET will also have a strong relationship with the Europeana and other European portals or gateways which hold information on archives, like Michael and QVIZ.” (eContentplus page)

Since recently the Project has a Website. You can find it at

Almost simultaneously another project, entitled PrestoPRIME’, launched its own website.

2. PrestoPRIME

PrestoPrime “will research and develop practical solutions for the long-term preservation of digital media objects, programmes and collections, and find ways to increase access by integrating the media archives with European on-line digital libraries in a digital preservation framework. This will result in a range of tools and services, delivered through a networked Competence Centre.”

Fast and Visual

Just the other day a new version of The European Library was made public. Most of the changes took place in the back-end, and are not very visible to the naked eye. Some improvements are however easy to spot. The speed of the search process immediately catches the attention – where it sometimes took quite some time to retrieve a record, it now often is a matter of split seconds.

Also the growing emphasis on visual images and multimedia has become clearly visible with the launch of version 2.0. Two examples:

1. The User Guide – designed to help new visitors discover all search possibilities offered by The European Library portal – has been turned into a


2. A relatively new section is the online exhibition space. Here online exhibitions and thematic tours across the content of the national libraries of Europe are presented. Currently online are:

* Photo-exhibition on the national libraries of Europe
* Treasures-exhibition: The most beautiful artefacts have been selected to provide a unique representation of European cultural heritage throughout the centuries.

Please note that many of the enhancements are directly related to user studies, and feedback we receive. So….. any further suggestions?!