28 November 2007

European Digital Library - An Update

I've written about this project several times; here's the latest info:

Europe's cultural institutions plan to launch a prototype of the European digital library in November 2008. It will give direct access to at least 2 million digital books, photographs, maps, archival records, and film material from Europe's libraries, archives and museums. By 2010 this will already have rapidly grown to include far more digital objects than the 6 million originally envisaged as more institutions make their digitised assets searchable through the European digital library.

For a steady growth of the European digital library, two key issues need to be tackled: the financing of digitisation and solutions for making copyrighted works searchable through the European digital library. In its yesterday's meeting the high level group discussed:

* new ways for funding digitisation through public private partnerships;
* solutions for mass-digitisation of out of print works and orphan works (for which it is very difficult to locate the rightholders). By June next year the group should find an agreement on dealing with orphan works (including criteria for searching for rightholders);
* the issue of access to and preservation of scientific information (see IP/07/190). Scientific publishers, libraries and scientists confirmed their intention to work together in an experiment with open access to scientific publications after an embargo period.

It's particuarly pleasing to see orphan works mentioned, since bringing them online would make a huge difference. It's also good to see scientific publishers making positive noises - though we'll need to see the details. (Via paidContent:UK.)

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