Brussels, 3 May 2005
Improving and extending the use of ICT to make the most of Europe’s cultural and audiovisual heritage
The European Commission today announced that it is to boost its policy of preserving and exploiting Europe's written and audiovisual heritage. At a time when the internet and the digital technologies available on many technical platforms are an everyday part of the life of European citizens, tapping the potential of our written text, image and sound archives is of major importance in economic terms as much as in cultural terms. The Commission plans to issue a communication by July outlining the stakes involved and identifying the obstacles to using written and audiovisual archives in the European Union. The communication will be accompanied by a proposal for a Recommendation aimed at enlisting all the public players concerned and facilitating public-private partnerships in the task of digitising our heritage.
“Our libraries, our films, our historic television and sound records not only need to be preserved; we also need to make better use of them in the fields of culture, education, information and research. The message addressed to the Presidency of the European Union and the Commission by six EU heads of State and government is a positive sign of increased awareness of the need to bolster our policy in this field,” commented Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, adding that “digitising this heritage is also a marvellous opportunity which our industry should grasp.”
Action already completed, in progress or planned ranges from developing search engines to formulating common standards and helping to digitise content. The communication and the Recommendation announced by the Commissioner will provide a framework and supportive context for this action.
Action to be continued and expanded