Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New coordination, investment, and momentum for the European Digital Library

Building the European Digital Library: calls for greater cooperation, a press release from JISC, October 27, 2007.  Excerpt:

A major European conference on digitisation came to an end today with a call for greater cooperation between countries and increased investment in digitisation at the highest political levels. The three-day LIBER-EBLIDA conference in Copenhagen brought together representatives from national and university libraries across Europe to discuss how digitisation can support moves towards making available European scholarly and cultural digital content.

High on the agenda were moves towards a European Digital Library – the delivery of integrated access to the digitised collections of libraries, archives and museums across the EU – the involvement of major commercial players such as Google and Microsoft and the stated aims of a number of smaller European nations to digitise their entire cultural and scholarly heritage.... 

Stuart Dempster of the UK’s Strategic Content Alliance spoke about the work of the Alliance developing a UK Content Framework (for delivery in spring 2009) and to maximise the investment being made in public sector information. A partnership between key public sector bodies, including JISC, the BBC and the NHS, the Alliance is attempting to overcome the many barriers which prevent citizens from the accessing the publicly-funded content they require for education, research work and leisure activities.

Jens Redmer reported on Google’s Books Search and Library Partner programmes, calling them ‘historic’ in their attempts not only to make available ‘the world’s information’ but also to join up services so that, for example, a Google search would link not only to content about a book but the book itself, or, where Google could not itself digitise the book concerned due to its still being in print, to local bookshops where that book could be bought. The presentation drew a wide range of questions about intellectual property, licensing issues and the ownership of the over one million texts currently being digitised by Google in Europe and the USA.

Among the recommendations made by conference delegates were: changes in European copyright directives, including greater uniformity of copyright regimes across the EU; simplified access to information about all European library and archive resources through a single portal (a ‘European Discovery Space’); greater coordination in the sharing of best practice....

Conference chair Paul Ayris summarised the conference’s outcomes by saying that digitisation is fragmented and uncoordinated with no overarching strategies which underpin the work being done across Europe. Calling for greater coordination across the continent, he asked why it was that it had taken a private company, Google, to show European libraries a way forward in making available scholarly resources? ...