IATE Term of the Week: Digital Cultural Heritage


New technologies rushed into our lives and transformed the concept of cultural heritage into digital form. Borders between countries are eliminated, as anyone can get inspired by the cultural legacy of any EU country by just clicking on the web link. People worldwide enjoy the benefits of the digital era, especially when we are speaking about the preservation of culture. Digitisation is undoubtedly an online bridge between EU citizens and rich European culture.

Perks of digital cultural heritage

In IATE, digital cultural heritage is defined as “cultural material accessible in digital form”. What is the advantage of storing cultural content in this format? 

  • There are numerous threats to cultural heritage such as vandalism, natural disasters, or mass tourism. Material objects of culture are easily damaged or even destroyed. One of the notorious examples of it is the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in 2019. The digital transformation safeguards the endangered cultural heritage sector. 
  • Online access to cultural resources makes European diversity even more visible, promotes European values and gives the feeling of shared heritage.
Click on the image above to access the IATE entry.

Digital cultural heritage in the EU

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT) is responsible for policy coordination and funding actions to support the Member States in their steps towards digitisation, online access to cultural material and digital preservation. 

One of the bright examples of cultural storage online is Europeana, the EU digital platform. It is a gold mine containing online exhibitions, galleries, books, music, artwork and much more. Have you ever thought of a possibility to visit a museum from the comfort of your own home, without long queues and hours of waiting? The platform proposes to discover hundreds of digitised collections of European museums, galleries, libraries, and archives and to explore the cultural heritage of institutions across Europe. 

The Commission also co-finances research and innovation for cultural heritage in the fields of 3D technologies and Virtual and augmented reality. 3D technologies allow creating and using 3D models of cultural heritage, reconstructing broken cultural objects, and visualising historic buildings and monuments. Virtual and augmented reality allows the users to walk across the ancient cities and imagine living in the past century. Tourists can visit virtual museums 24/7, explore European identity through a new virtual dimension and visualise history.

TermCoord and digital cultural heritage

In 2018, TermCoord participated in the presentation “The past meets the future: multilingualism, cultural heritage and new technologies” at the Naples Eastern University. The presentation was dedicated to digitisation and strategies related to digital cultural heritage, currently proposed at European level. 

Transforming cultural heritage into a digital format is an important step for promoting and cherishing European culture, engaging citizens in the exploration of culture, and sharing values with future generations.


European Commission. 2021. Cultural heritage. [ONLINE] Available at: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/cultural-heritage [Accessed 3 June 2021].

European Commission. 2021. European digital heritage | Culture and Creativity. [ONLINE] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/culture/cultural-heritage/cultural-heritage-eu-policies/european-digital-heritage [Accessed 3 June 2021].

European Commission. 2021. Digital for culture – Brochure | Shaping Europe’s digital future. [ONLINE] Available at: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/digital-culture-brochure [Accessed 3 June 2021].

Terminology Coordination Unit. 2021. Nuove tecnologie e patrimonio culturale europeo: prospettive nell’era del digitale. [ONLINE] Available at: https://termcoord.eu/2018/07/nuove-tecnologie-e-patrimonio-culturale-europeo-prospettive-nellera-del-digitale/ [Accessed 3 June 2021].

Written by Olena Khomiakova, Schuman Communication Trainee Terminology Coordination Unit. Currently she is enrolled as a Master student in Learning and Communications in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg.