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Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries
 

Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries

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In 2009, PSNC, the operator of Polish Digital Libraries Federation, began working with Europeana and exploiting the potential of promoting Polish cultural heritage content across Europe with the aim ...

In 2009, PSNC, the operator of Polish Digital Libraries Federation, began working with Europeana and exploiting the potential of promoting Polish cultural heritage content across Europe with the aim of creating wider access and facilitating re-use of their content. Europeana’s API has provided a good platform for this, both enriching existing services and providing a wider breadth of content to users of the DLW and DLF services. Through a number of widgets, DLW and DLF have utilised Europeana’s API to bring in content from Europeana that is related to search queries on their existing websites. This provides end-users with more choice as results are returned from hundreds of other trusted heritage institutions across Europe via the Europeana API.

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    Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries Document Transcript

    • Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries Open Data Case Studies Workshop Paris, January 28, 2013 Marcin Werla, Poznań Supercomputing and Networking CenterOverviewBig Idea 2Users 2Value Proposition 2Channels 3Benefits 6Conclusions 61/6 Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries
    • Big IdeaPoznań Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC) have been working with Polishcultural heritage institutions for more than 10 years. This cooperation has primarily focused onputting the institutions’ digitised collections online, mostly for educational and research use.The first outcomes of this cooperation were available online in 2002. In 2009, we startedworking with Europeana, appreciating its importance and strategic potential to promote Polishcultural heritage all over Europe and make it even more accessible and re-usable.In 2010, when the pilot programme for the Europeana API was announced, we had an ideathat, if properly used, an automated way of accessing aggregated data could significantlyincrease the visibility of European cultural heritage among the users of Polish digital libraries.UsersA study conducted in 20101 found that regular users of Polish digital libraries mostly fall intoone of the following categories: amateur historians and genealogists, genealogists, localhistorians, academics and students. We decided to use the data available throughEuropeana’s API to enrich our base services, without specifically focusing on any of the abovetypes of users, therefore also addressing incidental users who are not covered by thementioned categories.Value PropositionWhile defining the scope of our pilot API applications, we decided that the implementationshould focus on two core functions of digital libraries: searching the available collections anddisplaying metadata for particular digital objects. We wanted to enrich the informationpresented to users with data about additional but relevant objects found in Europeana. Suchenrichment should be easily accessible, unintrusive and should look like a natural element ofour system.1 Górny, M., Mazurek J. (2011), “Key users of Polish digital libraries”, Electronic Library, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 543-556, availableat: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02640471211252238 (accessed 18 March 2013).2/6 Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries
    • ChannelsWe decided to use two services which are hosted and developed by PSNC:  Digital Library of Wielkopolska (DLW) – the oldest and second largest Polish digital library, established in 2002 - http://www.wbc.poznan.pl/  Digital Libraries Federation (DLF) – Polish metadata aggregator collecting information about over 1.2 million digital objects from more than 80 digital libraries, archives and museums (including DLW), established in 2007 - http://fbc.pionier.net.pl/.We used APIs to access information held by these libraries, in addition to the Europeana API.To make the integration of API-based extensions into these services as seamless as possiblefor the end-users, we assessed their workflow. We assumed that a user’s workflow starts inthe DLF, where he/she is searching for interesting objects. After finding something interesting,he/she is redirected to a digital library website for a particular object, where he/she findsmetadata and a link to the content. On this basis, we decided to extend DLF search resultswith links to search results in Europeana (using the same user query as an input to bothsearch systems), and to extend the particular object’s results with links to associated objects inDLF and Europeana. The associations are based on API searches from DLF and Europeana,using pieces of an object’s metadata as a query. The overview of the initial data and user flowbetween the three systems and the flow which we wanted to achieve is depicted in the figurebelow.3/6 Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries
    • Finally, we implemented two widgets: ‘More results from Europeana’ for DLF and ‘See also’ forDLW. These widgets dynamically get data from the website which is then displayed to theuser, the widget also sends a request with this data to the API and displays search resultsreceived from the API as a response. Screenshots below show the final result of such dynamicenrichment.4/6 Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries
    • Search results on the Polish Digital Libraries Federation website enriched with a ‘More resultsfrom Europeana’ widget based on the Europeana API.Metadata record on the Digital Library of Wielkopolska website enriched with a ‘See also’widget based on the Europeana API and Digital Libraries Federation API.5/6 Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries
    • BenefitsThe widgets were deployed online at the start of 2011. Almost a year later, we decided to startevaluating their usefulness by analysing the traffic data gathered by Google Analytics fromEuropeana, DLF and DLW. The analysed period was 1 Jan 2012 – 13 June 2012.During the analysed period, the DLF website had 458,979 visits, of which 323,910 visitsincluded the search results page. At the same time, Europeana noted 16,754 visits which wereinitiated from the DLF website (DLF was the referrer). This means that 5.17% of visitors whosaw search results on DLF decided to click through to Europeana. Moreover, these usersspent double the average time on Europeana. This clearly shows that enrichment based onthe Europeana API not only directed users to an additional source of information, but also thatthey enjoyed this additional source.Similar analysis for the DLW website showed that at least 0.75% of visitors who saw at leastone metadata record during their visits decided to check the suggested objects in Europeana.The duration of the visit was also significantly higher than the Europeana average, but not ashigh as the average duration of visits from the DLF. The significantly lower percentage ofredirections to Europeana from DLW, compared to the DLF ratio, can probably be justified byat least one major difference between the DLW and DLF widgets. The DLW widget providesan additional feature to the metadata display website, while the DLF widget extends the corefunctionality of the search, thus has a higher chance of being used. Additional traffic datacollection and deep analysis would be required to provide more confident explanation of thatdifference.ConclusionsThe aim of this case study was to describe the idea, the implementation and benefits thatPSNC’s Digital Libraries Team achieved by using the Europeana API to enrich the services ofPolish digital libraries. We hope that the presented material is convincing enough to encourageproviders of cultural heritage web services to take a closer look at the Europeana API, and toconsider implementing additional features for their systems based on this API.As a final remark, it is worth noting that it is not only data providers already cooperating withEuropeana who should be aware of the many benefits of opening their data. As described inthis study, service providers like Europeana and the Digital Libraries Federation are able togain significant volumes of quality visitor traffic by opening up their data and functionality viatheir APIs. These are valuable benefits that could also be realised by other providers whoopen up their data and integrate with other services.6/6 Case Study: Europeana API Implementation in Polish Digital Libraries