Posted - 29-09-2017


A new project to chart the ‘Rise of Literacy’ in Europe

How has written text shaped our world through the centuries? This is the theme explored by a new Europeana ‘Rise of Literacy’ project, in which the National Library of Wales will be a partner. With the support of funding from the European Commission, ‘Rise of Literacy’ will tell the story of the rise of literacy through a European-wide lens.

Last week, I was at Europeana Foundation’s main office at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the national library of the Netherlands in the Hague, to begin the new project. The National Library of Wales is one of 13 partners from across Europe that will be working together to digitize, share and curate digital content relating to the theme on the Europeana Collections platform.

Europeana is Europe’s digital cultural heritage platform. Next year it celebrates its tenth anniversary. Since launching in 2008, the number of objects that can be accessed on the platform has increased more than tenfold from 4.5 million  to more than 50 million. NLW has worked on other projects with Europeana, giving access through the platform to some of our most well-known digital collections, most notably the Geoff Charles and John Thomas photographic collections and the Welsh landscape collection. We have also contributed to the EuropeanaTravel, EuropeanaCloud and Europeana280 projects.

The event in the Hague brought together the project partners, which include cultural institutions from Scotland, Latvia, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Serbia, as well as the Europeana team. Even at this early stage, we could see the many different topics that could be explored and the fascinating stories that could emerge through the project.

The aim of this project will be to create, develop and promote editorial content relating to the theme of the Rise of Literacy in Europe.

As a project partner, NLW will share hundreds of relevant objects, ranging from medieval manuscripts to early printed works and nineteenth-century newspapers, so that they can be discovered and displayed alongside similar materials from other parts of Europe.

These digital objects will be used to interpret the theme, leading to the creation of collections, exhibitions, galleries and blog posts, where they will be seen in the broader context of European culture and presented to a wider user audience.

The next stage will involve planning, selection and curation of digital collections, which will begin to be made available to the public from spring 2018.

For more information on the Rise of Literacy project and the kick-off meeting in the Hague, read this blog post by Nicole McNeilly, Collections Editor at the Europeana Foundation.

Dr Dafydd Tudur

Head of the Digital Access Section

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