Brussels, 04 May 2005
The European Commission has said that it intends to strengthen actions to preserve and exploit Europe's written and audiovisual heritage through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The Commission plans to publish a communication in July outlining the main arguments, both cultural and economic, in favour of digitising Europe's written text, image and sound archives, as well as the obstacles to achieving that. The communication will be accompanied by a recommendation aimed at securing the full involvement of public authorities in the process, and creating the public-private partnerships necessary to carry out the task.
'Our libraries, our films, our historic television and sound recordings not only need to be preserved; we also need to make better use of them in the fields of culture, education, information and research,' said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, adding that 'digitising this heritage is also a marvellous opportunity which our industry should grasp.'
The Commission's increased focus on the digitisation of Europe's cultural heritage will involve the continuation and expansion of existing initiatives as well as the creation of new ones. Projects funded under the information society technologies (IST) priority of the EU's research framework programmes have already targeted standardisation and testing methods, search techniques for audiovisual archives, and digitisation of film archives.
While these activities will be continued, the Commission is pledging a further 36 million euro for similar initiatives under the next calls for proposals of the IST programme in May - including the development of search engines for the general public - and 60 million euro under the eContent Plus programme for digitalisation of and access to content.