The ambitious Europeana digital library opened on Thursday Nov. 20, only to be overwhelmed and crash. Its objective is to bring Europe’s cultural heritage out of its museums and libraries and onto the internet.
The site was designed to handle up to five-million users per hour. But it was receiving 10-million hits an hour when it crashed at 11:30 am. Despite increasing the number of servers from three to six, the site crashed again early evening. It is now offline and displays the message, “We are doing our utmost to reopen Europeana in a more robust version as soon as possible.”
Europeana currently holds some two-million paintings, photographs, sound recordings, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and documents. According EU commissioner Viviane Reding Europeana will, “enable a Czech student to browse the British library without going to London, or an Irish art lover to get close to the Mona Lisa without queuing at the Louvre.”
Europeana has 14 staff and an annual budget of 2.5 million euros (US$3.15 million). The aim is to have 10 million works available by 2010. It will be back online by mid-December 2008.