Europeana, Europe’s new digital library, crashed within 24 hours after the release on Nov. 20th. 10 million hits an hour drove the servers to the ground, according to the European Commission. Mona Lisa’s popularity is to blame.
According to the website, “Europeana will re-open as soon as possible”, probably in the middle of December, according to Welcome to the Revolution (in Norwegian). Europeana is EU’s answer to Google’s booksearch, with 2 million digital objects (film material, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers). So far, 50 percent of the objects are from France.
What a start! Really sad, actually. Apparently, the Europeana project had expect less than half the amount of visitors, 3 million hits an hour, and was not prepared for the digital tsunami of 10 million hits . How could this happen? EU should have been professional enough to have avoided a crash like that.
It seems to be a money issue (as always), according to the Industry Standard:
Obvious mistakes were made by the team hosting the Web site in The Hague, Holland, and fixing the problem will mean the European Commission in Brussels is going to have to cough up almost 100,000 euros (US$126,905) on top of the 1 million euros launch budget for Europeana, in order to get it ready for relaunch in mid-December.
I think the European project is promising and will turn out to be a very useful tool, and I look forward to use it in December. Google Booksearch’s blog has also welcomed the digitizing effort, and says “we look forward to finding new ways to collaborate on initiatives such as Europeana”.
Norway has also contributed to the digital collection, according to this article (in Norwegian), but why on earth is the National Library of Norway so modest about it’s own contributions (how many Norwegian objects are digitalized, for example)? ABM Utvikling has some more info.