Europeana: What Users Search for and Why

  • Paul CloughEmail author
  • Timothy Hill
  • Monica Lestari Paramita
  • Paula Goodale
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10450)


People use digital cultural heritage sites in different ways and for various purposes. In this paper we explore what information people search for and why when using Europeana, one of the world’s largest aggregators of cultural heritage. We gathered a probability sample of 240 search requests from users via an online survey and used qualitative content analysis complemented with Shatford-Panofsky’s mode/facet analysis for analysing requests to visual archives to investigate the following: (i) the broad type of search task; (ii) the subject content of searches; and (iii) motives for searching and uses of the information found. Results highlight the rich diversity of searches conducted using Europeana. Contributions include: collection and analysis of a comprehensive sample of Europeana search requests, a scheme for categorising information use, and deeper insights into the users and uses of Europeana.


Search tasks Digital cultural heritage Europeana 



This study was funded by the European Commission under ‘Europeana DSI-2’. We thank users of Europeana for participating in the online survey.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Clough
    • 1
    Email author
  • Timothy Hill
    • 2
  • Monica Lestari Paramita
    • 1
  • Paula Goodale
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.EuropeanaThe HagueNetherlands

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