The expression cultural, or public, heritage institution comprises (mainly) public institution such as: museums, art galleries, libraries, state archives, audio-visual (film) archives, sound archives (music & other recorded sound), photo libraries and agencies, research centres and universities.
These organisations host physical cultural objects, and may digitise them to make them more widely accessible. They also host newer, born-digital cultural items. They then contribute metadata describing their digital collection (not the materials themselves) to Europeana, along with small thumbnailpreview images. Some other types of preview can be supported, such as sound clips.