Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Crash landing for online library

British Library
Works from the British Library are on the website

A European-wide online library and museum project has crashed within 24 hours of its launch.

The Europeana digital library enjoyed a high-profile launch on Thursday, but the system was swamped by an unexpected 10 million user requests per hour.

It is expected to be out of action until next month.

The website brings together more than two million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archive documents, paintings and films.

Many of Europe's top museums, such as the British Museum and the Louvre in Paris, have contributed to the project.

A message on the Europeana website reads: "The Europeana site is temporarily not accessible due to overwhelming interest after its launch.

"We are doing our utmost to reopen Europeana in a more robust version as soon as possible. We will be back by mid-December," it added.

"We launched the site on 20 November and huge use, 10 million hits an hour, meant it crashed."

It is hoped 10 million works will be available on the website when it is fully operational in 2010.

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