Europeana signs Memorandum of Understanding with the BBC

On Monday 25 November, Europeana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the BBC in London, UK. The BBC signed four MoUs supporting free and open internet technologies with the Europeana Foundation, the Open Data Institute, the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation.

These agreements will enable closer collaboration between the BBC and each of the four organisations on a range of mutual interests, including the release of structured open data and the use of open standards in web development. One aim of this agreement is to give clear technical standards and models to organisations who want to work with the BBC and give those using the internet a deeper understanding of the technologies involved. The MoUs also bring together several existing areas of research and provide a framework to explore future opportunities.

This approach encourages greater collaboration with the wider industry and the development of new technologies and digital services that can bring additional benefits to audiences.

Europeana is at the forefront of the open data movement. In 2012, Europeana created a watershed moment in open access when it released its entire dataset, 20 million items at the time, under a CC0 dedication, making all of its metadata freely available for use by all and reinforcing the importance of the public domain for creativity. This database has since grown to 30 million as the galleries, libraries, museums and archives continue to make their material more openly accessible.

Like Europeana, the BBC has been publishing linked open data for some time, most notably as part of the /programmes service where machine-readable information about the programme schedule is made available online, or the successful Olympics Data Service which underpinned 10,490 athlete pages on the BBC sport website during the 2012 Olympics. Europeana’s linked open dataset can be found at

"‘Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the world’s most respected broadcaster alongside the Open Data Institute, the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation will help us all work to the common goal of opening up and standardising access to data, be it government, public archive or cultural heritage. We certainly want more people across Europe, indeed the world, to know about, work with and play with the contents of Europe’s museums, galleries and archives that are available online through Europeana. We are very much looking forward to working with the BBC to help achieve this.’" Jill Cousins, Europeana’s Executive Director
"‘Like Europeana, the BBC believes that online access to digitised cultural assets will become more and more important, and today’s MoU will provide a useful forum for an ongoing conversation about our ambitions in the digital space and I look forward to seeing the results.’" James Purnell, Director, Strategy & Digital
About Europeana

Europeana brings together the digitised content of Europe’s galleries, libraries, museums, archives and audiovisual collections. Currently Europeana gives integrated access to over 30 million books, films, paintings, museum objects and archival documents from some 2,300 content providers. The content is drawn from every European member state and the interface is in 29 European languages, and Europeana receives its main funding from the European Commission.

The Europeana Foundation also runs sites where people can upload and explore family histories of the First World War - and the fall of the Iron Curtain: together with an information site for professionals in the heritage sector:

Follow Europeana on Twitter @europeanaeu and #AllezCulture.