21 August 2008

EU - Opening soon: a digital library for Europe

Europe's cultural diversity in books, music, paintings, photographs, and films open to all citizens at the click of a mouse via one portal - this dream of a European Digital Library could become reality this autumn. However, further efforts by the EU Member States are needed, said the Commission in a new Communication on making available digital versions of works from cultural institutions all over Europe. Digitisation of cultural works can give Europeans access to material from museums, libraries and archives abroad without having to travel or turn hundreds of pages to find a piece of information. Europe's libraries alone contain more than 2.5 billion books, but only about 1% of archival material is available in digital form. The Commission therefore called on Member States to do more to make digitised works available online for Europeans to browse them digitally, for study, work or leisure. The Commission itself will provide some € 120 million in 2009-2010 for improving online access to Europe's cultural heritage. see Communication on Europe's cultural heritage at the click of a mouse and Staff Working Paper. See also Frequenlty Asked Questions (FAQs).