One week into working at the Dutch National Libary, host of both teams, I think I can answer that.
Europeana collects metadata descriptions of cultural objects from Europe’s museums, libraries, and archives and provides a portal to search over these descriptions.
The European Library is more focussed, aggregating book catalogues from all 48 national libraries in Europe. It thus provides an aggregated catalogue of every single book in Europe (although there are probably caveats to that I’m not yet aware of), plus some metadata relating to their digitised content.
Both have created signficant networks of expertise to add to the massive amount of data they have aggregated.
But there is a general acknolwedgement that, having spent much effort creating these networks, both sites need to provide a better focus on end user needs.
Therefore, Europeana is beginning to divide up its user groups and allowing different groups to exploit the aggregated data in different ways e.g. tertiary education, secondary education, tourism, the ‘general public’, commercial industries.
Part of the work I’m doing is trying to develop Europeana Research, the part of Europeana which will be focussed on researchers. This will start with the European Library data, mix in the Europeana data, add some full-text content from some other new projects (such as a new project to cluster archives of historic digitised newspapers) and start to work out ways that this data can be exploited by different research communities.
Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done to make that work, and I’ll hopefully write about the metadata, content strategies, usability, business model, IPR obstacles / challenges this entails in the next few months (if I’m not drowning in the hot soup of EU funding politics, garnished with a heavy sprinkling Euro-acronyms).