The use of digital content has, over the past couple of decades, become almost the norm for many researchers within the Humanities and Social Sciences. Curation of both digitised legacy data and born-digital content, however, makes it imperative that items are managed at an individual level in order for larger collections of data to be trusted and useful. Europeana is shifting focus from being a discovery portal of over 30million digitised items to a platform that allows third parties to develop tools based on its content. In order to gather information about the potential use of existing collections in Europeana, research was conducted into developing an empirically-based, comprehensive list of User Requirements. Investigations included current data reuse within the sector, the quality of the content itself and identification of topics with which Europeana can be of most use; as well as how researchers within these fields make best use of tools when analysing content.
In our investigations through the Europeana Cloud project, we took the approach from both users and providers. Topics were selected for trial using Europeana’s current content, and other potential resources, both of which were subjected to questioning: how useful was the data to them?; what tools or services could be used with it; how would that advance knowledge in the field; what were the failings of the content and how might that be overcome? Within this paper, we have selected two of these topics as case studies: Conflict-related Population Displacement; and Children’s Literature. Both topics have showcased the need for improved metadata, and also highlighted the importance of more generic tools that match scholarly primitives and methods in order to encourage use and meaningful reuse of content within the platform.