Europa press release - Europeana and the Digital Agenda
On the 18th November, the Reflection Group ("Comité des Sages" - Maurice Lévy, Elisabeth Niggemann, Jacques de Decker) set up by the Commission to explore new ways to bring Europe's cultural heritage online (IP/10/456) addressed the EU's Council of Culture Ministers and the European Parliament's Committee on Culture. The Comité des Sages' report is due to be published at the beginning of 2011.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said: "Europeana is a great example of how cooperation at European level can enrich all of our lives. 14 million objects available online is good news for all internet users who want to have access to cultural material from Europe's libraries, museums and archives. But Europeana could be even better if more cultural institutions digitised their collections and made them accessible through this European portal. I trust the Comité des Sages will soon give us ambitious recommendations to speed up that process."
New items added this year include a Bulgarian parchment manuscript from 1221 witnessing to history of the Bulgarian language; ‘Catechismusa prasty szadei’, the first Lithuanian book, published in 1547; a 1588 copy of Aristotle's' Technē rētorikēs in ancient Greek and Latin; paintings by the 17th century Dutch painter Jan Steen; the complete works of German authors Goethe and Schiller; 1907 footage of festivities for the Danish Constitution Day; and a series of pre-World War I photographs of the Glendalough monastery in Ireland (see MEMO/10/586) for more examples).
Digitised photographs, maps, paintings, museum objects and other images make up 64% of the Europeana collection. 34% of the collection is dedicated to digitised texts, including more than 1.2 million complete books that can be viewed online and/or downloaded. The texts cover thousands of rare manuscripts and the earliest printed books (incunabula) from before 1500. Video and sound material represents less than 2% of the collections. Much of the material accessible through Europeana is older, i.e. out of copyright, items, due mainly to the difficulties and cost of rights clearance to digitise and give access to in-copyright material (even for material that is no longer commercially distributed or out-of-print) or material whose potential right-holders are unknown (orphan works).
All EU Member States have contributed items to Europeana, but input is still uneven. France is still the largest contributor (18% of total items). Germany has increased its share to 17%. To ensure Europeana represents a true cross-section of Europe's cultural heritage, it needs further quality material from all Member States.