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Digital Libraries Initiative

i2010: Digital Libraries Initiative

Europe’s cultural and scientific riches at a click of a mouse

In ancient times, the library of Alexandria was said to contain up to 70% of all human knowledge. The challenge for the digital age is to do even better than that – and make the result last longer.

The EU’s digital libraries initiative sets out to make all Europe’s cultural resources and scientific records – books, journals, films, maps, photographs, music, etc. – accessible to all, and preserve it for future generations.


The initiative focuses on two areas:

  • cultural heritage – creating electronic versions of the materials in Europe’s libraries, archives and museums, making them available online, for work, study or leisure, and preserving them for future generations;
  • scientific information – making research findings more widely available online and keeping them available over time.

A further key goal is to set up and develop Europeana – a single access point for consulting digital copies of the materials held by libraries, museums and archives. In the “analogue times”, if you wanted to research a subject – Rembrandt, for instance – you had to travel all over Europe to find material. But with the European digital library, you will be progressively able to access all of it online – his works, books and documentary, films about him, drawings, photographs etc. – regardless of where the originals are held.

The digital libraries initiative is part of the Commission’s i2010 strategy for the digital economy.


Latest news and further information

  • What’s new?
  • Next events
  • Brochures
What’s new


  • 1st October 2009 – The 5th Meeting of the Member States’ Expert Group on digitisation and digital preservation took place in Luxembourg. The agenda of the meeting included the presentation of the Commission Communication on “Europeana – The next steps”; Google Book Search: US Settlement and partnerships with EU cultural institutions for the digitisation of cultural heritage; exchange of good practices and policies on orphan and out of print works.
  • 28 August 2009 – The Commission adopted the Communication “Europeana – next steps”; accompanying Staff Working Document EN, which looks ahead to the next phase of development of Europeana and its orientation for the future.

    The public consultation launches a debate on the further development of Europeana. The questions of the consultation deal amongst other things with the way in which the private sector can be involved in the further development of Europeana through public private partnerships, and how in-copyright content can be made searchable through Europeana. Questions for consultation EN, FR, DE (closing date: 15 November 2009). Replies can be sent to :

  • 25 June 2009 High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Digital Libraries. The 6th meeting of the HLEG took place in Brussels. The group discussed the progress of Europeana – the European Digital Library, launched on 20 November 2008. The other agenda items concerned copyright, scientific information, and the preparation of a final report of the High Level Expert Group “Digital Libraries: recommendations and challenges for the future”. More information is available at HLEG meetings.  

More news…

Next events



Editor and Publisher by INTERSCOOBS workstation PO BOX 52706 London EC1P 1XZ United Kingdom


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