Date:13 Apr, 2016


CulturaItalia[1], on line since April 2008, is managed by the Italian Ministry of cultural heritage, activities and Tourism (MiBACT) through the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries (ICCU) [2], is the Portal of Italian Culture, that gives access to a database of “metadata” which gathers and organizes the information arriving from the various providers participating in the project. Users can discover different kinds of digital resources which make up the country’s extensive cultural heritage (museums, photographs, libraries, archives, galleries, exhibits, monuments, videos, discs, etc.).

The portal aggregates over 2,4 million metadata from 32 public and private partners included thematic aggregator, like Internet Culturale, the portal of the Italian Libraries, also created and managed by ICCU. Internet Culturale plays a key role in guiding the libraries in the production of standardised digital cultural resources and metadata that respects the Italian standards.

The Portal is targeted to general users, by offering them a service for retrieving information on Italian culture from one point of access, and to more expert users, such as the operators in the field, who can take advantage of a high-quality showcase to promote their own cultural digital resources. It represents a response to the needs of an expert public as well as the needs of the general public. CulturaItalia offers the specialised user, such as students, researchers, and those employed in the cultural sector, the opportunity to carry out targeted searches that correspond to very specific interests using a cutting-edge software.  For non-specialised users, such as citizens and tourists, the Portal can pique curiosity and offer opportunities to discover or find out more about cultural resources in the territory, thanks also in large part to editorial content (thematic itineraries, articles, highlights, events, columns) published to spotlight the stores of “metadata” present in the website’s database.

The OPAC of the National Library Service is integrated in the CulturaItalia’s search function.


As national aggregator, CulturaItalia is the most important Europeana’s Italian content provider: almost 720.000 metadata, from different providers, aggregated in CulturaItalia has been send to Europeana, under the condition of the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication CC0.

In addition to the content gathered by the content providers through harvesting via OAI-PMH protocol, CulturaItalia collects digital objects by the Italian museums, thanks to a Digital Library realized in MuseiD-Italia project.

MuseiD-Italia project[3] was  realized from 2010 to 2012 with the main following outcomes::

  • a national register of museums, monuments and archaeological parks interoperable with regional databases
  • a digital library based on Fedora framework for storage and publication of digital objects describing museums, and their collections and digitized objects;
  • digitization campaign, addressed to the most representative museums for populating the Digital Library

MuseiD-Italia sends to CulturaItalia, via OAI-PMH, the metadata on museums, digital collections and the related digital works, where they are searchable in the Index together with the other metadata coming from all CulturaItalia partners.

User guide: see the section


Contact details: Sara Di Giorgio,, responsible of the technical working group


In the section of the technical documentation of CulturaItalia is available the OAI Data Provider software adapted to its Application Profile that allows the database  interoperability according to OAI- PMH protocol . In the CulturaItalia section ‘devoted to Technical Documentation ‘ it’s possible to download directly online some software that implements the interface OAI -PMH (version 2.0), used and tested in the context of CulturaItalia. The implementation and the configuration is done through the management of XML and XSL files that allows the metadata extraction according to the mapping  document.

In the section is also available a software application (named PICOvalidator) that allows the validation of an OAI-PMH repository , which exposes metadata in PICO format.


In the section of the technical documentation of MuseiD-Italia is available the software for creating the iMETS format metadata and an application for validating METS.

Is part of the CulturaItalia the pilot project started in 2012 to build up a Linked Open Data (LOD) Service that will progressively make available open data-sets from the web-portal CulturaItalia. It presently makes available as LOD the Thesaurus PICO, adopted by the portal for facilitating the browsing of a variety of resources in its domain, and metadata from the following data-sets: Accademia di Santa Cecelia, ArtPast Project, Digibess, ICCU, Internet Culturale, Michael Italia, Polo Museale Fiorentino, Regione Marche and Anagrafe delle Biblioteche Italiane. All data are licensed under CC0 1.0 – Universal Public Domain Dedication.

CulturaItalia platform extracts the datasets, in XML PICO format, that have been submitted by the providers, who has allowed to part of the pilot and convert the PICO metadata into CIDOC[4] standard, according to the mapping document elaborated by Emilia Masci of the SNS of Pisa. The mapping is  implemented in an XML stylesheet and the result is an RDF/XML representation of each data provider’s metadata. Then the CulturaItalia repository allows the semantic enrichment  with four types of reference resources:

  • the authority files like the VIAF (Viartual International Authority File:
  • GeoNames (
  • PICO Thesaurus in SKOS
  • DCMI Type vocabulary

The SPARQL endpoint provides access to RDF metadata structured according to the CIDOC – Conceptual Reference Model in the implementation of Erlangen CRM / OWL. Data can be searched over three querying interfaces, corresponding to three sections of

  • Text search: here it is possible to perform free text searches over all triples contained in
  • SPARQL query: here you can try your hand at a SPARQL query. There are also some examples of queries.
  • iSPARQL query: here there is an even more complex querying interface for advanced users.

In Dati.CulturaItalia is available OAI Provider that makes available XML or RDF metadata structured according to different schemas:

  • oai-dc (xml): OAI-PMH schema adopted by Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
  • pico (xml): PICO Application Profile, the CulturaItalia Application Profile
  • edm (rdf): Europeana Data Model, adopted by the portal Europeana EDM[5]
  • cidoc (rdf): CIDOC – Conceptual Reference Model in the implementation of Erlangen CRM / OWL


Annual rate of the software assistance: € 15.000 + VAT

Annual rate for the system analyst: € 20.000 + VAT


CulturaItalia’s staff organize training courses on different topics on digitisation, interoperability and open access policy for experts coming from cultural institutions and students.