Digital Agenda: encouraging digitisation of EU culture to help boost growth

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The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation asking EU Member States to step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve the private sector in digitising cultural material. This is essential to make European cultural heritage more widely available and to boost growth in Europe’s creative industries. The digitised material should be made available through Europeana, Europe’s digital library, archive and museum (see www.europeana.eu).

The Recommendation challenges Member States to develop solid plans and build partnerships to place 30 million objects in Europeana by 2015 compared to the 19 million available today; to get more in-copyright and out-of-commerce material online; and to adapt national legislation and strategies to ensure the long-term preservation of digital materials.

Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda said: “Europe has probably the world’s greatest cultural heritage. It cannot afford to miss the opportunities offered by digitisation and hence face cultural decline. Digitisation brings culture into people’s homes and is a valuable resource for education, tourism games, animation and the whole creative industry. Investing in digitisation will create new companies and generate new jobs.”

Europeana, which started out with 2 million items when it was launched in 2008, currently holds more than 19 million objects, which are now accessible through a more intuitive and interactive interface. In order to provide a more balanced set of contributions from across Europe, the Recommendation sets targets per Member State for minimum content contribution by 2015.

The Recommendation builds on the conclusions of the Comité des Sages (high level reflection group) on bringing Europe’s cultural heritage online, established in 2010 (see IP IP/11/17). Here to read more.

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