Europeana and Digital Public Library of America

The following post is a short review of the history websites Europeana and Digital Public Library of America.

Both websites are a “meta-history” of Europe and America. At first glance, the sites are overwhelming and busy. However, they encompass a wealth of material, and so I see them as organized chaos. Europeana includes all of its content outlets- RSS, Pinterest, Search- on the homepage. This organization makes the huge site easier to navigate. This site also organizes its exhibitions based on pictures and minimal text. This design decision draws the user in and can focus the user on one topic if he or she is overwhelmed. Those pictures, along with the feature parts on the homepage, are a great starting point for the first time user (like me). In the upper right hand corner, the user can also choose the language of the site. This seemingly small tool is immensely important in creating a wider audience and democratizing history. Further, the addition of that language selector includes an argument in itself- that Europe is multicultural.

The Digital Public Library of America website also organizes its exhibitions by pictures, but the user can explore American history through dates and region. This tool allows the vast content to become instantly specific by the click of a button. Once the student is inside the exhibits, he or she can zoom in and out of the featured pictures. This tool is interactive and fun. This website also gives users the ability to develop Apps from its content. I have never seen any tool like this on any website! The addition of Apps and inclusion in that App process gives this site great points in reaching a wider audience and democratizing history.


2 thoughts on “Europeana and Digital Public Library of America

  1. Sara. Your description actually helped me understand the Europeana and DPLA sites a little better. I found them confusing. When I dug down a line I was interested in, I often found only a few photographs that weren’t that useful. I’m still not sure I’m using the sites correctly.

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