AFTER a stumbling start, Europeana, the European online encyclopedia, is now up and running enabling you to browse paintings, photographs, video and texts.
Late last year upon its initial launch Europeana fell at the first hurdle because for some reason the people behind the project didn't expect the massive interest it received and so the servers collapsed.
This always seems to happen with such projects and you'd think they'd be prepared, but anyway what is there to discover now the website is a little more robust?
In its defence Europeana is a very well presented, easy on the eye service, with plenty of white space so that search results are displayed quickly and you can easily see items in the collection.
For example, a search on the word Dordogne turns up over 3,400 items, the majority of which are photographs, but you've also texts covering agriculture from mid 19th century and news video from a few years back.
A lovely discovery is a video clip featuring the music and an interview with Joséphine Baker.
Interestingly Europeana works by linking into existing online collections, such as the digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the vast video collection of the Institut national de l’Audiovisuel.
It does look as though Europeana is fully fit now and for anyone keen to discover more about towns, villages and the people of France it is sure to turn up some real gems.
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