In “Reading Europe: European Culture Through the Book,” curators from 23 national libraries in the European Library partnership have highlighted 1,000 scanned works in 32 languages from the Europeana collections.
Well-known works, such as a 1617 first edition of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, from the Biblioteca Nacional de España, are part of the exhibition and available for viewing, as well as such curiosities as a 1945 work printed for Allied soldiers in the Netherlands, “A.B.C. for Soldiers on Leave,” from the Dutch Koninklijke Bibliotheek. A brief introduction to each text is provided by the curators.
Europeana also recently unveiled another virtual exhibition focused on the Art Nouveau artistic movement, which influenced visual artists, architects, and designers at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Eighty images of prints, sculptures, and other works are viewable, and provide a broad view of the style.
The exhibitions serve as an introduction to Europeana itself, which first went live in 2008 (and at first quickly crashed due to overwhelming response). The project includes 6 million digitized items from more than 60 national libraries and other contributors across the continent.
Like other large-scale digitization projects, such as the HathiTrust, Europeana is often cited in discussions of models for a U.S. national digital library; a commenter on the New York Review of Books site, for example, brought up Europeana in response to Harvard University Librarian Robert Darnton’s call for a national digital library earlier this month.