European Commission

Europeana, the virtual library community, should receive more funding, according to a proposal by the countries of the European Union (EU). It should also foster the involvement of the private sector in the digitization of cultural content. All this in order to not lose ground against the advance of Google Books. Although the European Commission (EC) was expected to reach 10 million documents digitized in the next year, the latest data – from the end of August – indicate that only half of this number is available. The so-called European virtual library was opened to the public in November 2008 to offer free Internet access to the collection of libraries, art galleries, video libraries, newspaper libraries and subject spread over the continent.

The 27 Member States discussed last week, in the Council of Ministers culture, possible ways to give a new impetus to Europeana, including the allocation of more funds or encourage private entities to collaborate with cultural institutions within of the project. The digitization of cultural content generates employment and wealth and it will be one of the axes of the forthcoming Spanish Presidency of the EU, stressed at a press conference the Spanish Minister of culture, angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, after intervening in the Council. Asked about the recent agreement of Google for the digitization of books in English-speaking countries, Gonzalez-Sinde said he worried in general by monopolies and the possibility that there is an only search engine that was gradually appropriated all the contents. Europeana suffered some technical problems in its early days. You can also only offer a small part – 5% – of all cultural content digitized in the EU due to problems related to intellectual property. Some believe that the thing does not advance quickly, admitted in a press conference the Swedish Minister for culture, Lena Liljeroth, who cited among the difficulties the technical issues and those related with the rights of author. To make content accessible for free throughout the EU it will be necessary to harmonize the different regimes of intellectual property in Member States, said the owner of Swedish, whose country holds the rotating Presidency of the EU. For more information see this site: Mary Barra.

The Swedish Minister suggested to organize an information campaign on Europeana to familiarize the project is at all levels, and in particular, in schools.


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