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IRIS 2005-10:5/6

European Commission

Strategy for European Digital Libraries

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Mara Rossini

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

As part of the “i2010-a European Information Society for growth and jobs” initiative (see IRIS 2005-7:5), the Commission has now adopted a Communication setting out its strategy with regard to European digital libraries. The aim is to make Europe's written and audiovisual heritage available on the Internet. It is thought that transferring Europe's historic and cultural heritage onto digital content will be beneficial to European citizens in their daily occupations but will also provide innovators, artists and entrepreneurs with the material they need for increased creativity. The task at hand will be arduous as the three key areas for action, namely digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation will be dealing with all manner of content: books, film fragments, photographs, manuscripts, music… which entail billions of books in European libraries and millions of hours of film and video in broadcasting archives. Private involvement and public/private partnerships are deemed paramount towards achieving this goal and for its part the Commission will have a coordinating role and contribute funding through its research programmes and through the e content plus programme (see IRIS 2005-3:5).

The results of an online consultation on digitisation and digital preservation issues to be held this year will feed into a Commission proposal for a Recommendation to appear on this very matter in 2006. The results will also support other projects such as the review of EU copyright rules (2006) and the implementation of the Community R&D programmes (2007). In addition, a High Level Group on digital libraries will advise the Commission on how to address this endeavour at European level. Collaboration among Member States will be facilitated by an update of the Lund action plan, providing operational guidelines on digitisation (2005) and the Commission will also ensure coordination by working alongside cultural institutions such as national libraries.

References
“Commission unveils plans for European digital libraries”, press release IP/05/1202 of 30 September 2005 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=15041
 
Communication of 30 September 2005 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - i2010 : Digital libraries, COM/2005/0465 final EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=15044