Yesterday we added some new features to the Europeana portal. The three new features don’t bring big changes, but should make some aspects of searching the portal more user-friendly.
Translate item details
The first feature I’ll mention is that it’s now possible for you to translate the descriptions of the items into a large number of languages. When you’re looking at an item an action “Translate details” is displayed on the lower left. Click “Translate details” and a window appears where you first choose a service for the translation and then the language you want the descriptions translated to. The services will identify the original language automatically so you don’t need to specify that.
When the target language is chosen the item’s desciptive fields are translated. Some fields, containing e.g. the names of organisations, aren’t translated at all. Above the item’s title a translate API attribution is shown with a link to click on if the user wants to return to the original language.
As with all machine translations the results vary in quality, but at least for me this is the first time I actually can even begin to understand the meaning of a large proportion of content in Europeana! My Finnish isn’t what it should be…
I’ve seen many persons, mostly Chrome users, having the Google Translate widget active whenever they search Europeana so hopefully this will be a useful litte feature to all our users.
External services search shortcuts
If you encounter e.g. names, places, or subjects, in the Europeana item descriptions and you want to look them up on the web you can now quickly do so. Next to the metadata values that are searchable a small info-icon is displayed. When you click that icon you can choose between a number of external services to search with the value as your search parameter. The search results are shown in a new browser window or browser tab.
Here’s a good example item where you can quickly look up what other sources on the web have on e.g. Mozart or Opera. And if your Polish isn’t all that good having the description translated is a few clicks away. Did you note that the score is in the Public Domain? Which leads me to…
Facets for rights and licences
You can now limit search results only to items that have specific copyright statements linked to them or to items that are in the Public Domain. On any search result page you can now see a new facet “By rights” in which you can choose between different licences and rights statements. As with the other facets you can combine a number of different facet values.
Note that only about 1 million Europeana items currently have clear rights statements. This number is expected to grow as we continue to improve our metadata quality and standards.
Here’s an example of a result of using this new facet which shows maps that are free to re-use on e.g. Wikipedia. I started searching for “karte OR karten”, then limited my results to Open Licences (like Public Domain, CC-BY-SA) and then finally to images only.
So if you really want to make sure to find content that is allowed to be reused for the purpose you have in mind, commercial or non-commercial, or if you’re looking for content to upload to e.g. Wikimedia Commons this facet can come in useful!
These were some of the results of our latest development iteration. Any feedback or suggestions for improvement are welcome! Next week I promise some more info on two of the functions we deployed yesterday, but that aren’t that apparent in the portal.