Europeana Sounds: a gateway to Europe's sound and music heritage

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The Europeana Sounds project was launched on 1 February 2014. This three-year project, co-funded by the European Commission, will give online access to a critical mass of audiovisual digital-objects by January 2017. Over 540,000 high quality sound recordings will be available via Europeana, from classical and folk music, to environmental sounds from the natural world as well as oral memories.

The project, coordinated by The British Library, is a partnership among 24 national libraries, sound institutions, research centres, and universities from 12 European countries.

The sounds selected for this project embrace the breadth of Europe's cultural heritage: classical music and contemporary performances with timeless and universal appeal; traditional and folk music and storytelling ; sound effects, environmental sounds and noises from the natural world; languages, accents and dialects and oral recollections, all with a particular resonance in different regions. Together these collections reflect the diverse cultures, histories, languages and creativity of the peoples of Europe over the past 130 years.

Europeana Sounds is a truly groundbreaking initiative. For the first time world-leading heritage institutions with outstanding audio collections are getting together to enhance access to early materials and share expertise and skills. Through TV, radio, online channels and cinema, audio visual materials today make up the soundtrack to our daily lives, and have done for decades - but are some of the most overlooked when it comes to preserving our cultural heritage.

Europeana Sounds will widen access to a wealth of Europe's richest materials and show how sound recordings have woven their way into the social, cultural and scientific fabric of their time across the spectrum. From long forgotten dialects, through the sounds of disappearing natural environments, to contemporary music, Europeana Sounds will bring us all closer to a recent past much like to our own, united by a common aural heritage. Much of this heritage was born within the age of copyright, and preserving it for future generations will carry forward the work on opening access to copyrighted materials. These sounds are the newest layer in our shared cultural experience, and the challenge will be to preserve access to it for a wide audience in an increasingly digital age. 

Europeana Sounds partners

  • The British Library – UK
  • Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision- NL
  • Kennisland - NL
  • Europeana - NL
  • National Technical University of Athens - EL
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France - FR
  • AIT Austrian Institute of Technology – AT
  • Net7 Srl - IT
  • We Are What We Do - UK
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - FR
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek – DE
  • Music Library of Greece of the Friends of Music Society - EL
  • Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries - IT
  • Irish Traditional Music Archive – IE
  • The Language Archive at MPI-PL – NL
  • National Library of Latvia - LV
  • Österreichische Mediathek (Austrian Mediathek) – AT
  • Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg - DE
  • Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – UK
  • Statsbiblioteket – DK
  • Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library) – AT
  • Institute of Contemporary History - Universidade Nova de Lisboa – PT
  • Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann – IE

Europeana Sounds is co-funded by the European Commission under the CIP ICT-Policy Support Programme.

Follow @EU_Sounds (Twitter) & (Facebook).

Europeana is a multi-lingual online collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and audiovisual collections. Currently Europeana gives integrated access to 30 million books, films, paintings, museum objects and archival documents from some 2200 content providers from across Europe. The content is drawn from every European member state and the interface of the portal is in 29 European languages. Europeana receives its main funding from the European Commission.

The National Library of Latvia (NLL) is the largest research library in the country. The library has been engaged in building the Latvian National Digital Library since 2006. Besides digitising the collections of the NLL and partner organisations, and making them accessible, its research is focused on the interoperability of large-scale multi-format digital resources. The Library is the national content aggregator and provider to Europeana. It receives Legal Deposit of all kinds of materials, published in Latvia, including audiovisual materials, such as sound and video recordings, and other multimedia materials. It has one of the largest collections of published sound recordings in Latvia, dating from the beginning of the 20th century.


More information:
Axelle Bergeret-Cassagne
Communications Coordinator
+33 153 79 52 31