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.
- 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 Digital Agenda for Europe.