Panel 3: European Digital Library

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

The third session of the second day was held under the heading European Digital Library. The four speakers presented the initiatives that they work on, the gaps that are called to fill, what has been succeeded by now and what are their future plans.

Paul Doorenbosch, the first speaker, presented the project of the National Library of The Netherlands, the Dutch approach of the digitisation project in the European Context, the creation of a Digital Library.It is based on the i2010, the EU policy framework for the information society and media for a European Information Society for all citizens, based on a series of flagships; the key proposals of i2010. Digital Library focuses on both cultural heritage and scientific information. Paul Doorenbosch talked about the national plan for developing infrastructure, professionality and copyright issues. He mentioned the Dutch governmental actions in digitisation, the nationally – such as Images for the Future (Beelden voor de Toekomst) and Dutch Heritage:Digital!- and internationally based projects such as MICHAEL and EDN. EUROPEANA, a project which was analysed by the second speaker, is the reference point for the digitisation activities of The Netherlands.

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Jill Cousins, the director of European Digital Library, took the floor to talk more thoroughly about EUROPEANA,a European digital library net that aims to connect museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections under the supervision of European Digital Library Foundation (EDL). She started by mentioning the gaps between vision and reality that EUROPEANA tries to fill, such as the relationships of users and content providers, content and copyright, Europe and nation, nation and Institution, funding and attitude.

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Jill Cousins continued by presenting the work plan of EUROPEANA, what has been succeeded by now, which is the current situation and what are the next steps. A fully working prototype will be launched in November 2008. What EUROPEANA aims for the future is to increase the number of partners, to determine the discussion model, conceive the roadmap and, last but not least, find the funding for next year.
The third initiative was VideoActive, presented by Sonja de Leeuw, professor of Film and Television at the University of Utrecht. VideoActive is a two-year project (2006-2008) for bringing European television archives together. It has 14 members in 10 countries. It is about 10.000 items of television archival content from earliest TV recordings on film, to data such clipping of TV guides and still photos. The portal will be launched in May 2008. What adds value to this project is the procedure of comparison. It studies the differences and similarities of European television in different topics, like the content, the language. It is about a comparative survey of TV holding of archive partners.

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The last speaker was Georg Erkes, who talked about the European Film Getaway (EGF) project which will give online access to film archival content. EFG will start in September 2008. Its aim is based on the new user expectations and the necessity of internet accessibility. Its objectives are to create a single access point, a common European filmography and a gateway to content from film archives. At this moment, EFG has 22 partners and 16 content partners. Georg Erkes mentioned that the technical part of the project will be supported by DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research). The content will be based on catalogues and film content, so it will be both media and document types. Of course, Georg Erkes pointed out the IPR issues that EFG has to deal with facts such as that the half material, especially the moving images, is not owned by the archives partners or the public domain and that there is not experience in rights-clearance. Netherlands Filmmuseum will lead on IPR work package. What it is attempted is the evaluation of copyright laws and regulations in each member country.

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All speakers mentioned the difficulties of their projects but they also stressed their intention to continue the European vision for the digital unification of European archives.