The Chief Executive of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bruno Racine, has been elected to chair the Board of the Europeana Foundation, responsible for the EU’s primary cultural heritage showcase, Europeana.eu.
Mr Racine takes over from Elisabeth Niggemann, Director of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Dr Niggemann was the Foundation’s first chair from 2007. On taking up the post, Mr Racine paid tribute to the vision and determination of his predecessor, saying, ‘I salute the remarkable work achieved by Elisabeth Niggemann in launching and consolidating Europeana’.
His election comes at a significant moment in the development of Europeana. Twenty million cultural artefacts – books, films, sounds and pictures – are now accessible through the portal. The European Commission has just announced its proposals for structural funding of Europeana from 2014-2020 through the Connecting Europe Facility, part of its investment in the Digital Agenda for Europe. Europeana is seen as a key advocate of the value of cultural heritage in digital innovation and creative enterprise and has been running events to develop mobile apps and making large datasets available for Linked Open Data initiatives.
Mr Racine will continue to develop Europeana’s strategic role as a facilitator for new ideas in the cultural heritage sector. He sees Europeana as ‘possibly the most important project in the field of culture in the EU. Our success lies in our network. The museums, libraries, archives and audiovisual collections have come together as a community that is finding new ways to connect users with their patrimony. Access to Europe’s digitised knowledge on the scale that Europeana provides is awe-inspiring.’