Digitisation in Europe – The New Renaissance

The European Union’s Comite’ des Sages recently published The New Renaissance, a proud call-to-arms for the digitisation of Europe’s cultural heritage.

There are plenty of questions it raises and some of the recommendations will be very difficult to put into practice. But as a lofty statement of intent it’s a powerful document and very welcome, focussing hearts and minds on the task of digitisation. Some of its broad aims overlap with the recent Inspiring Research, Inspiring Scholarship document published by JISC.

At the heart of the recommendations is the desire for far greater commitment to digitisation from the member states of the EU. It urges the individual governments to fund the digitisation of out of copyright works. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the UK.

Other interesting parts of the document include

  • Creation of European legal instruments to ease the orphan works problem
  • Securing Europeana’s position as the central point for European digitised culture
  • Private-sector digitisation should be encouraged but not result in paywalls for end users. Out of copyright content should be freely available
  • Europeana should evolve as a service for depositing and preserving digitised content. It should be funded by the EU.
  • Metadata should always be freely available for re-use

There are plenty of issues which touch on JISC’s attitudes and plans for digitisation. I shall try and blog on them over the next few weeks.

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