CulturaItalia is the Portal of Italian Culture, promoted by the Italian Ministry of cultural heritage, activities and tourism (MiBACT), in which are involved cultural institutions from all sectors and levels (national, regional and local). CulturaItalia, as national aggregator, plays an important role for the development of Europeana, making available cooperative networks and agreements and coordinating technical activities leading to the establishment of Europeana.

The portal, managed by the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries (ICCU) of MiBACT, indexes the main cultural databases and gathers the metadata to Europeana, the public digital library promoted by the European Community.

CulturaItalia presents an integrated Digital Library, named MuseiD-Italia, with the most important digital collections of the Italian museums. Recently in CulturaItalia it has been created a section devoted to open data, where it’s also possible to search via SPARQL END POINT a datasets selection available in Linked Open Data format.

CulturaItalia is based on the same standards of Europeana and shares setting and aims and at national level. It has the same function as Europeana on a European scale. CulturaItalia promotes the digital resources interoperability, adopting a cross-domain Application Profile (PICO AP, PICO is the acronym for Portale della Cultura Italiana On-line), based on the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative technical guidelines.
CulturaItalia, 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), 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 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.

CulturaItalia manages a catalog – called Index – which gathers and indexes the information provided by the partners, by means of metadata.  The original data remains on the website of the provider, to which the user is guided, via link, for a complete consultation. For example, in the case of a photograph in the Index, the preview image (thumbnail) is visible along with identifying data and a link to the provider’s website, where the user can visualize the photograph in its original format, accompanied by all the information and the services in order to get the full benefit of the item.

The resources of the Index are classified on the basis of the PICO Thesaurus.

CulturaItalia publishes also Editorial articles to discover cultural heritage and activities and metadata provided by partners. The project is on the major Social Network, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+.
The Portal 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 Libray Service is integrated in the CulturaItalia’s search function.

CulturaItalia is an “open” system: it grows up and develops together with the continuous enrichment of its metadata Index, through the metadata harvesting according to OAI-PMH, a protocol which allows the harvesting of metadata from content providers to one or more harvesters, adding services as indexing system or automatic classification. The Portal harvests metadata from different repositories and exports metadata to other national and international Portals and repositories.

After retrieving the metadata of interest in CulturaItalia, the user can directly access to the data source, by heading to the provider’s website or by contacting it via other channels, in order to find out more information about the resource.