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IP/10/539

Brussels, 5 May 2010

Europeana: European Commission welcomes European Parliament support

Strong support from the European Parliament for the further development of Europeana, Europe's digital library, archive and museum, has been welcomed by European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes. The European Parliament's Resolution adopted today has joined the European Commission in asking EU Member States to step up their efforts to make their cultural heritage available through the site that already gives direct access to 7 million digitised books, maps, photographs, film clips, paintings and musical extracts.

Neelie Kroes said: "We very much welcome the European Parliament's strong support for our drive to make Europe's rich and diverse cultural heritage available online. I would especially like to thank Mrs Trüpel for her work. Together, we have an obligation to ensure that our citizens, children and grandchildren can have access to our cultural heritage."

The European Parliament Resolution on "Europeana, the next steps", based on a report by German MEP Helga Trüpel, underlines the potential of the site as a common access point to Europe's collective heritage and calls on Member States to bring more digitised content into Europeana.

Today, Europeana (www.europeana.eu) gives direct access to 7 million digitised objects from Europe's cultural institutions, up from 2 million at its launch in November 2008. Some 37.4% of the digitised items come from France, followed by Spain with 13.2%, but content from some Member States is very limited, and masterpieces from many EU countries are still missing.

The Parliament's Resolution also addressed other issues that have to be tackled to ensure the success of Europeana, including the need to:

  • address a series of copyright related issues to facilitate the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural content. The report highlights in particular the issue of orphan works (works for which it is impossible to locate the copyright holders)

  • ensure sustainable funding for the site

  • raise awareness about Europeana among the general public and potential contributors.

Today's resolution from the European Parliament was a response to the Commission's August 2009 Communication "Europeana - next steps" (see IP/09/1257). The Commission will take account of the Parliament's Resolution in defining a future policy on Europeana and other areas, including copyright questions for the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material, and the re-use of public sector information.

Background

Europeana was launched in November 2008 (IP/08/1747). It is a gateway website that allows internet users to search and get direct access to digitised books, maps, paintings, newspapers, film fragments, and photographs from Europe's cultural institutions. About 7 million digitised objects are currently available and the number is expected to rise to 10 million in the course of 2010.

During 2009-2011, the EU's eContent plus programme will cover about 80% of Europeana's budget (€ 2.5 million per year). The Member States and cultural institutions will contribute the rest. Until 2013 the European Commission can continue supporting Europeana with €9 million through its Competitiveness and Innovation Programme. The office of Europeana is hosted by the National Library of The Netherlands in The Hague and is run by the European Digital Library Foundation.

See MEMO/10/166 for a more detailed description of what Europeana is and how it works.


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