Progress in the European Digital Libraries EU Initiative

By EDRi · December 5, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A meeting on 27 November 2007 of a high level group on digital libraries and
officials of the European Commission formalised the agreement between
European libraries, archives and museums in a common effort to create a
European digital library that would give access to a common European
cultural and scientific heritage.

The EU European Digital Libraries initiative is part of “i2010: European
Information Society 2010” initiative launched in June 2006 with the purpose
to “foster growth and jobs in the information society and media industries”,
followed, in August 2006, by the adoption of the Recommendation on
digitisation and digital preservation urging “EU Member States to set up
large-scale digitisation facilities so as to accelerate the process of
getting Europe’s cultural heritage on line via the European digital
In this sense, Member States were encouraged to tackle
questions related to copyright and “the systematic preservation of digital
content in order to ensure long term access to the material”. The idea of
European Digital Libraries was backed by the Culture Ministers of all EU
Member States and by a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 27
September 2007.

Recently, a European digital library foundation has been created gathering
European associations that represent museums, libraries and archives.
According to Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, the
creation of the foundation “shows the commitment of Europe’s cultural
institutions to work together and make their collections available and
searchable to the wide public through a common and multilingual access point

The launching of a European digital library prototype is planned for
November 2008. The prototype will give direct access to at least 2 million
digital books, records, photographs, maps, films from the European
libraries, archives and museums. It is foreseen that by 2010 the digital
library will exceed the initially targeted 6 million digital objects.

The success of the initiative depends on the financing of the digitisation
and on finding solutions to make copyrighted works searchable through the
European digital library. Therefore, the discussions during the meeting on
27 November were focused on finding new ways to finance digitisation through
public private partnerships, in finding solutions for mass-digitisation of
out of print works and orphan works and on issues related to access to and
preservation of scientific information.

The group decided to find an agreement by June 2008 to deal with orphan
works that would including criteria to look for rightholders and an
agreement was also reached by libraries, scientists and scientific
publishers to experiment open access to scientific publications which have
been under embargo during the last period.

Launch of European digital library “on track” (28.11.2007)

The European Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions (25.08.2007)

EDRI-gram: European Parliament resolution on a European digital library

EDRI-gram: Copyright clearing for EU digital libraries project (25.04.2007)