European Commission Opens Forum on EU Digital Library

Sep 01, 2009

The European Commission has begun a public consultation on the future of Europeana, the EU's multilingual digital archive, and the digitization of books that will run until Nov. 15.

Europeana has more than doubled in size since its creation in November 2008, going from an original 2 million digitized items to 4.6 million today, with an eye toward doubling again in the next year to reach 10 million books, maps, newspapers, video clips, and photographs. Even so, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding of Luxembourg has announced her displeasure at the fact that only 5 percent of all digitized works in Europe are available through Europeana.

The shortfall is a result of several factors, including regulations stating that any document published by the EU must be made available in all 23 of the institution's official languages (a list that includes such languages as Magyar, Maltese, and Slovene). Further complicating the online publishing process is a set of conflicting digital copyright laws that vary from member state to member state.

The European Commission's public forum is aimed at addressing these issues and directing the future of European digital publishing.