May 18, 2022

Researchers Across U.K., Europe to Create Digital Library of Old European Smells

From The National Post:

Thanks to innovative technology, researchers have gathered libraries of ancient tomes, museums of bygone artefacts, classical music treatises, and, in modern times, records of old photos and films that offer windows into the past.

But can we have a library of old smells?

That’s the question scientists, historians and experts in artificial intelligence across the U.K. and Europe will attempt to answer, as part a $4.9 million project to identify and catalogue the different aromas smelled by Europeans between the 16th and early 20th centuries.

The project, named “Odeuropa,” will begin in January, and will see researchers develop artificial intelligence to scour through historical texts in seven languages, looking for descriptions of odours and the context that comes with them.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article

See Also: Official Announcement: Odeuropa Awarded €2.8M Grant for Research Project on European Olfactory Heritage and Sensory Mining

The project bundles an array of academic expertise from across many disciplines—history, art history, computational linguistics, computer vision, semantic web, museology, heritage science, and chemistry, with further expertise from cultural heritage institutes, intangible heritage organisations, policy makers, and the creative and fragrance industries. The team will develop novel methods in sensory mining and olfactory heritage science to collect information about smell from multinational digital text and image collections. The historical scent data will be curated and published in an online Encyclopaedia of Smell Heritage, describing the sensory qualities and meanings of the scents and tracing the storylines of key scents, fragrant places, and olfactory practices. This database will become an archive for the olfactory heritage of Europe, enabling future generations to access and learn about the scented past.

Odeuropa’s main collaborating partners: International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF); Olfasense, Mediamatic Amsterdam; Museum Ulm; National and University Library of Slovenia (NULS); Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage (DICH); The Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History; the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO (SNCU); The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM); and the NOSE Network.

Direct to Odeuropa Website

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.