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i2010 Digital Libraries: A European Commission Initiative for Cultural Heritage and Scientific Information in Europe

22 May 2008

The presentation provides an overview of the Commission initiative “i2010 Digital Libraries”, a flagship project of the Commission’s overall strategy launched in 2005 to boost the digital economy, the i2010 strategy. The Digital Libraries’ initiative aims at making Europe’s diverse cultural and scientific heritage (books, journals, films, maps, photographs, music, etc.) easier and more interesting to use online for work, research and study. The Commission outlined its strategy in the Communication “i2010: Digital Libraries” (2005), and later in the Communication on “Scientific Information in the Digital Age” (2007). A first strand of action aims at improving the framework conditions (legal, organisational, financial and technical) for digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation, so that all digital libraries can benefit from an improved “environment”. The instruments used are mainly forms of soft regulation: the use of a Commission Recommendation, incentive measures (co-financing of projects), facilitation of stakeholders’ dialogue, coordination with national authorities and cultural institutions. A second strand of action aims to the launch of a real European digital library, a common multilingual internet access point to the distributed cultural collections of Member States (EUROPEANA). Specific actions have been devoted to the sector of scientific information, which operates according to particular dynamics.