The MICHAEL and MICHAEL Plus projects have been funded through the European Commission?s eTen programme, to establish a new service for the European cultural heritage.
The MICHAEL project is a partnership between France, Italy and the UK to deploy a cultural portal platform that was developed in France. MICHAEL Plus extends the MICHAEL project to the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The two projects are closely aligned. The projects focus on the integration of national initiatives in digitisation of the cultural heritage and interoperability between national cultural portals to promote access to digital contents from museums, libraries and archives.
The MICHAEL project has established this international online service, to allow its users to search, browse and examine descriptions of resources held in institutions from France, Italy and the UK. The MICHAEL Plus project will enhance the contents of our portal by adding results from a further 11 European countries. We hope that the technical standards and sustainability model that we have established for the project will mean that more countries will contribute their contents to the portal in future.
Through the multilingual MICHAEL service people will be able to find and explore European digital cultural heritage material using the Internet.
A European cultural heritage inventory, available to all and providing access to cultural heritage resources.
Sustainable management for the project to continue.
Endorsement and implementation at a national government level, in order to underpin further funding as required.
A methodology and technical platform, which makes it easy to add new national instances of MICHAEL, thus growing the content and user bases.
The technical results of the MICHAEL project can be listed as follows:
The MICHAEL data model for multilingual digital cultural heritage inventories
An open source technical platform for national instances built on Apache Tomcat, Cocoon, XtoGen, XML etc.
Interoperability protocols for national instances to contribute data to the European service
European MICHAEL search portal
Methodology and model which is easy to deploy in additional countries.
MICHAEL European Service
The MICHAEL European Service provides access to digital resources from museums, libraries and archives. The website includes:
- A searchable database of digital resources from museums, libraries and archives in several European countries.
- Articles and user stories, which look at various aspects of the European cultural heritage and the contents of MICHAEL.
- Information about the MICHAEL project, the technology that it uses and links to useful materials.
The MICHAEL database is based on national inventories of digital resources that have been created by the project partners. Each national inventory includes descriptions of digital collections and the websites, CD-ROMS and other products and services that have been created by museums, libraries and archives. The descriptions are written especially for MICHAEL by people working in, or on behalf of, the cultural institutions themselves. Details are harvested directly from the national inventories to become part of the MICHAEL database for the European services.
Countries and languages
At the time of writing, in December 2007 the MICHAEL European Service is based on the national inventories for France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Three languages are supported (French, Italian and English) and users are able to choose their preferred language to search and browse the contents of the MICHAEL database, and also the editorial contents of the website. Records are held in the database in their original language and (partially) in translation. Users are offered access to machine translation tools to enable them to translate record details into the language of their choosing.
From 2008, new contents will be added to the MICHAEL European Service from the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. As these new contents are added to the service, additional languages will be supported.
In future we hope that more European countries will join and make details of digital resources from their museums, libraries and archives available through the MICHAEL European service.
For further information visit http://www.michael-culture.org/en/home