European Cultural Backbone (ECB) 2.0 working title

A self-governed and decentralized platform for the civil society

ECB is an initiative to build a federated platform for European civil society media and content producers. Started by technologists, archivists and community media outlets, we want to connect communities across Europe by developing a sustainable and self-governed alternative to centralized commercial services for publication and preservation of non-profit audiovisual content.

ECB is an initiative by Cultural Broadcasting Archive (A), and the development collective (D). We’re currently reaching out to partners in France, Spain, Ireland, Hungary and Poland. We will publicly present the initiative at the PublicSpaces Conference, which takes place at the MozFest in Amsterdam in March 11/12.

If this initiatives raises your interest, please say hi :wave: at - we’d be glad to get in touch and are actively looking for partners and collaborators. Feel free to leave comments on this pad, and related notes and links in the :pencil: editable notepad.

There will be a follow-up meeting in the next weeks! :alarm_clock: If you want to join, please send quick email to and we’ll send you a link to organize a meeting!

Note: We are not related to the European Cultural Backbone project from the late '90, but admire what they achieved. The label fits our initiative so much that we kept refering to it as a current working title. The final name for this project is TBD.


ECB wants to foster collaboration between non-profit media outlets, independent content producers, journalists, archives, researchers and technologists across Europe. This includes possible collaborations with public service media and Open GLAM initiatives.

At its core, ECB wants to develop an open-source European technical infrastructure for a network of interconnected, resilient content platforms for communication, media exchange and publication in the European civil society.

We want to empower and connect producers and consumers through a shared digital public sphere for European civil society media - democratic, free, open and accessible.


Emerging from the non-profit media sector, the founding consortium is formed from a diverse set of technologists and content producers with a long history of being rooted in the civil societies of Europe.

We seek to provide a technological basis for the long-standing desire in using the Internet as an open space with a shared commitment to open and collaborative exchange of knowledge and art. Big Tech and commercial platforms cannot properly fulfill these needs, because oftenly their business model is at odds with the equally important values of data sovereignty, privacy, and self-determined governance. ECB will create self-governed public open sphere for the European civil society and thereby provide a much-needed alternative to existing platforms controlled by for-profit entities.

Whereas commercial providers invest billions into their digital strategies and technology, technologists in independent outlets have long struggled with keeping up to the pace of progress in media technologies. It is time for a resilient, self-goverened infrastructure for the media-technological future of the European civil society.


As a decentralized network of interconnected platforms, ECB will be resilient towards single points of failure. ((will thereby contribute to the preservation of European cultural heritage. empower existing organizational structures through larger nodes supporting smaller outlets. ))

ECB integrates novel approaches to recommendation, search, and moderation, and ongoing research into fair artificial intelligence algorithms.

Through intelligent, cross-network recommendation and public indexes, individual communities are empowered to expand their reach through shared nodes and databases. Through secure, decentralized software tools we want to allow the existing trust networks in the civil society to expand into the digital realm.

ECB will provide recommendation and moderation tools that shall be controlled by self-determined governance structures and not the maximization of advertisement value of a platform or the sale value of user data. Moderation can be delegated and discussed in a bottom-up process, empowering communities and networks to provide a self-goverened space of publication.

By encoding existing networks into distributed platforms of shared nodes, we create an efficient and secure way to share content between collaborators and like-minded communities.

Project plan