Mona Lisa Fail

The Europeana website was launched on the 20th November, a large european-wide digital library and archive, featuring digitised items from many major institutions.

And it promptly fell over under the weight of 10 million hits per hour.

The wierd thing about this is that the majority of people were searching for “mona lisa”. (Andy Warhol famously commented, when the Mona Lisa visited New York in the 1960s, that they should have just sent a facsimile. And it seems that nowadays, that’s what the Internet is delivering, and what people want to see).

It seems to reveal something about how people use digital libraries and archives. Woohoo, lots of stuff has been digitised! great! What shall we look up first? Erm….. dunno…. think of something famous that we already probably know….

As part of the LAIRAH research project, we demonstrated that some subjects were the most popular – or most requested – in digitised resources and collections. The Census, witchcraft, suffragettes, shakespeare, chaucer, WWI, WWII… I guess we can now add “Mona Lisa” to that list.

Questions. How many people wont ever come back to this website once it relaunches, given the 404? and really, how exciting is the entry on the Mona Lisa?

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