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The aim of the Fiasco Awards is rewarding the best projects in the ICT field that have ended up as a FIASCO. We want to promote a critical spirit, a positive attitude towards the obstacles in the road to success, and why not? let's admit it: to have fun. More »
Don't be afraid (D'on ve el fred? - ¿Dónde vive Alfredo?)
Finalist Fiascos
Europeana

History
Europeana (http://www.europeana.org/portal/) is an online library launched at the end of 2008 that was promoted by several EU countries with the support of the European Parliament. This initiative was born as the big European alternative to the American online libraries (Google Books, Google Art Project or Wikipedia, amongst others). Because Europe has important documentary sources, this content should be placed on the web.

The fiasco
This idea was received with enthusiasm by the media and the diffusion was so good that on the day of its birth Europeana overloaded because of high demand. It took them more than a month to reopen in a limited version without interactive content. And after two more years it still has the condition of Beta.
Once reopened, the result is a big disappointment for the users. Perhaps it is because we are used to Google placing the more interesting links in the first positions, but why can't this tool have a good indexing system? When searching "Picasso", the first page shows minor works? Not the Guernika, not the Les Demoisselles d'Avignon, nor any of the images that we would easily recognize if we carried out the same process in Google Images.
But the worst part is that the content showed in the results is in low resolution. Another problem is that in many cases there is no content offered, but only links or references to other sources. And these links to paying content can't be previewed. In other words, it does not achieve the purpose that was initially proposed. And we all funded the project with our money? Is it so difficult to do it right?

What did we learn?
We learned several things. First, it is not enough to have the primary matter (the contents) to develop a great website. The correct implementation (technology and knowledge) and the presentation (functionality) are even more important. In this case, Europe has the knowledge and contents but has not been able to create a reference on the Internet inside this field. Second, when an on-line service is launched it is essential that the promoter ensures that they have a suitable infrastructure to bear the user's demand. Last but not least, a governmental initiative based in what we could call web 1.0 -with low quality contents- could hardly compete nowadays with initiatives from the private sector that are based in collective contribution.

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