Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Digitisation & Digital Preservation

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Cultural heritage - chapter image
Online accessibility of Europe's cultural heritage needs requires the right conditions for proceeding with digitisation, online accessibility and the preservation of cultural content.
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This all requires close collaboration between Member States and cultural institutions, and also between these cultural institutions and other stakeholders.

The European Commission fuels the policy debate and brings stakeholders together to improve the framework conditions for digitisation and digital preservation through the Commission’s Recommendation of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation, an update of a Recommendation issued in 2006.

The Recommendation invites Member States to:

  • Put in place solid plans for their investments in digitisation and foster public-private partnerships to share the gigantic cost of digitisation (recently estimated at € 100 billion). The Recommendation spells out key principles to ensure that such partnerships are fair and balanced.
  • Make 30 million objects available through Europeana by 2015, including all Europe's masterpieces which are no longer protected by copyright, and all material digitised with public funding. 
  • Get more in-copyright material online, by -for example- creating the legal framework conditions enabling large-scale digitisation and cross-border accessibility of out-of-commerce works. 
  • Reinforce their strategies and adapt their legislation to ensure long-term preservation of digital material, by -for example- ensuring the material deposited is not protected by technical measures that impede librarians from preserving it.

At its meeting on 10 May 2012, the Education, Youth and Culture (EYC) Council adopted conclusions on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation on the basis of the Commission's Recommendation  of 27 October 2011.
In its conclusions, the Council invites the Member States to:

  • Consolidate their strategies and targets for the digitisation of cultural material;
  • Consolidate the organisation and provision of funding for digitisation, promoting public-private partnerships;
  • Improve the framework conditions for the online accessibility and use of cultural material;
  • Contribute to the further development of Europeana, the Europeana Digital Library and
  • To ensure long-term digital preservation.

In the Annex to its conclusions, the Council sets out a number of priority actions as well as an indicative timetable for work by the Member States in the years 2012-2015 in order to achieve these objectives.

Monitoring the progress made by Member States

The Commission is monitoring the progress made by the Member States in implementing the Recommendation for each of its headings below. This progress is monitored with the help of a Member States' Expert Group, which brings together civil servants and representatives of cultural institutions from each Member State.

More information about the different areas of the recommendation: