Access to Europe's cultural heritage should be made much easier though the creation of the European digital library, the European Parliament says in a non binding report. MEPs are backing a Commission plan to set up a European digital library as a direct access point to the European cultural heritage and stresses the importance of multilingual access to the databases. The report was adopted with 481 votes in favour, 26 against and 3 abstentions.
For a large number of people, particularly young people, the Internet has become one of the principal means of access to knowledge. Therefore, says the committee, it is important to make use of the digital technology to promote, safeguard and disseminate the wealth and diversity of the European cultural heritage as widely as possible.
In the own-initiative report by Marie-Hélène DESCAMPS (EPP-ED, FR) MEPs back the setting up of a digital library in as a single, direct and multilingual access point to the European cultural heritage. The long term aim of the initiative should be to establish a tool that covers all categories of cultural material - not only books, but also audiovisual material. In the initial phase however focus should be put on text material free of copyright.
The European Parliament stresses the importance of having a multilingual interface that gives direct access to the content in all EU languages. It should also be possible to conduct the searches in all languages.
MEPs say that existing initiatives in Europe that connect libraries and give access to national European library collections should contribute to the creation of the European digital library. As for funding, the committee says new methods of financing must be developed - including partnerships with the private sector.
The European Commission's proposals were outlined in a paper put forward in September 2005, after six Heads of State and their respective Governments called in April that year for the creation of a virtual European library.
- Further information on digital libraries
- i2010: digital libraries
- Text, as adopted by the EP on 27 September, will shortly be available here
- Audiovisual clip on European digital libraries
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