Europeana Goes Online and Is Then Overwhelmed
By STEPHEN CASTLE
Published: November 21, 2008
BRUSSELS " A new digital library of Europe’s cultural heritage crashed just hours after it went online and will be out of operation for several weeks, the European Commission said Friday, attributing the embarrassing failure to overwhelming public interest.
Europeana, a Web site of two million documents, images, video and audio clips, opened on Thursday with international publicity and acclaim from researchers. But by Friday, those trying to log on were greeted with a message telling them that the service may not be running again until mid-December, while computer capacity is upgraded.
The designers of Europeana had expected a maximum of five million hits an hour. But there was as much as three times the predicted traffic, a unusual phenomenon for any Web site associated with the European Union.
Europeana was a “victim of its success,” said Martin Selmayr, a spokesman for the European commissioner responsible for the project, Viviane Reding.
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