March 3, 2006 8:22 AM PST

Europe's digital library taking shape

At least 6 million books, documents and other cultural works will be made available online over the next five years under a planned European Digital Library.

The European Commission on Thursday released more details about its plans to finance a series of "digitization centers" across the continent and create a framework for protecting intellectual property rights. The centers will house the skills and expertise "needed to achieve excellence for digitization and preservation processes," the EC said.

Viviane Reding, the EC's information society and media commissioner, said in a statement Thursday that technology will "enable you to tap into Europe's collective memory with a click of your mouse."

People will be able to search the collections of libraries, archives and museums through a single, multilingual entry point, which will take the form of a Web portal.

Two million books, films, photographs, manuscripts and other works are expected to become accessible through the library by 2008, rising to 6 million by 2010.

The EC said the final figure would be much higher as "every library, archive and museum in Europe will be able to link its digital content to the European Digital Library."

The Commission noted that Google's digital library project had "triggered a reflection" on how to deal with Europe's cultural heritage in the digital age.

"It is also interesting in that it highlights the possibilities for public/private initiatives in this area. Public/private partnerships or sponsoring by private companies will accelerate digitization," the Commission said. "Given the budgetary constraints on many cultural institutions, initiatives involving the private sector can be a useful means to complement public funding."

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
digital library, Europe, commission, library, Google Inc.

3 comments

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Yup, it's been great for me
I'm one of those unemployed guys who is no longer showing up in the unemployment numbers. I have to say, being 58 and unemployed and with no real hope for a meaningful means of support is quite disconcerting. At least, according to our Persident, I am contributing the betterment of our nation and that of India as well. Without those reassuring words, I would have thought our leaders had turned traitor and abandoned their countryman. I feel much better now.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
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Microsoft's Proposal
Anyone seen this:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://europa.eu.int/information_society/activities/digital_libraries/consultation/replies/consult_results/microsoft_a302787.doc" target="_newWindow">http://europa.eu.int/information_society/activities/digital_libraries/consultation/replies/consult_results/microsoft_a302787.doc</a>

Microsoft propose that the Digital Library be DRM encumbered and that people could be charged to access the data.

DRM based on what? Microsoft Technology I presume - so hard luck if you dont use Microsoft. Also what happens in 100 years when the Microsoft DRM doesn't work any more...
Posted by Steve_a (22 comments )
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File formats
Something else that is worth noting is that of the 224 responses published 223 are in PDF and one is in a proprietary format.
Posted by Steve_a (22 comments )
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