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Title: EEXCESS – Enhancing Europe’s eXchange in Cultural Educational and Scientific reSources
In the last decade, Europe has conducted a tremendous effort to make cultural, educational and scientific resources publicly available. Although such massive amounts of culturally and scientifically rich content are available, the potential of its use for educational and scientific purposes remains largely untapped. One reason can be seen in current web content dissemination mechanisms which are dominated by a small number of large central hubs like major search engines (e.g. Google), social networks (e.g. Facebook) or online encyclopaedias (e.g. Wikipedia). In order to maintain their valuable services, those large hubs have to focus on commercially viable mainstream content. While cultural and scientific resources provide valuable and educational content, they cannot be considered as ‘mainstream’. Quite contrary, most of this can be considered as high-quality niche content for a rather small community and forms part of the so-called Long Tail. The Long Tail theory , first introduced by Chris Anderson, argues that in internet-based markets, niche content adds up to a huge body of knowledge, but is hidden from most users. In the Long Tail, content is maintained and curated by a large number of small to medium-sized institutions such as memory organisations (e.g. archives and museums), national and digital libraries and open educational repositories. However, the few large Web hubs hardly support the dissemination of this Long Tail content leaving a gap for bringing cultural and scientific wealth into educational and scientific processes.