Abstract: A large on-going activity for digitization, dissemination and preservation of cultural heritage is taking place in Europe and the United States, which involves all types of cultural institutions, i.e., galleries, libraries, museums, archives and all types of cultural content. The development of Europeana, as a single point of access to European Cultural Heritage, has probably been the most important result of the activities in the field till now. Semantic interoperability is a key issue in these developments. This paper presents a system that provides content providers and users with the ability to map, in an effective way, their own metadata schemas to common domain standards and the Europeana (ESE, EDM) data models. Based on these mappings, semantic enrichment and query answering techniques are proposed as a means for providing effective access of users to digital cultural heritage. An experimental study is presented involving content from national and thematic content aggregators in Europeana, which illustrates the proposed system capabilities.
Keywords: Cultural heritage access, metadata schema mapping, European data model, Europeana, semantic query answering, query rewriting, cultural resource discovery and enrichment