i2010: DIGITAL LIBRARIES (12981/05)
Letter from David Lammy MP, Minister for
Culture, Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the Chairman
I am sorry not to have responded to your letter
of 24 November 2005
before now, but I am afraid that we can find no record here of
having received your original request.
You have asked for reports on the outcome of
the European Digital Library debate at the Education, Youth and
Culture Council and our Presidency conference, which both took
place last November; and for a summary of the UK response to the
European Commission's consultation.
COUNCIL (14 NOVEMBER
The European Commission has not yet issued a
formal note of last November's Education, Youth and Culture Council.
However, the draft minutes note that the Council held an exchange
of views on the Communication from the Commission (12981/05),
on the basis of a Presidency questionnaire (13392/2/05). Delegations
welcomed the idea of a European Digital Library and mentioned
existing and planned digitisation activities in their own countries
which could contribute to this initiative. The debate focused
on the need to ensure multilingualism and promote linguistic and
cultural diversity, on the issue of protection of intellectual
property rights and online accessibility and digital preservation.
UK CONFERENCE ON
E-LEARNING (15-18 NOVEMBER
On 15 November 2005, as part of the UK Presidency
programme, we hosted a conference about the European MICHAEL project,
looking in particular at exploring ways of providing multi-lingual
access to the cultural heritage online (including reports from
projects in the UK and Europe); and considered ways of providing
access to the digital cultural heritage for tourism, research
and by the creative industries.
In the evening of 15 November, I launched a
Dynamic Action Plan to make Europe's cultural heritage more accessible
through the internet. I am enclosing a copy of the Plan, which
was produced by the National Representatives Group (NRG) (not
printed). The NRG meets at least every six months and its activities
include identifying and comparing digitisation practices, setting
technical standards across Europe and developing best practice
guidelines. The Plan sets out an important programme in providing
diverse digital resources that support education, tourism and
the creative industries, and will enable digital access by all
citizens to the national, regional and local cultural heritage
of Europe. Its objectives include overcoming the digital divide,
and mobilising cultural institutions to co-ordinate and make best
use of technologies.
On 16 November, the NRG held an "Inspiring
eLearning" conference, which looked at the links between
digitisation and e-learning. The conference showcased some developments
in the UK, as well as those from across Europe and looked at some
of the issues involved in the provision of e-learning materials.
The NRG met on 17 November. The meeting noted
that the Dynamic Action Plan had been presented at the meeting
of the Culture and Audio Visual Council on 14 November, and was
subsequently formally launched in Bristol. The NRG looked at ways
to implement the Plan, including agreeing to set up five working
The NRG heard presentations on proposals for
a European Digital Library from the NRG member for France, and
from the Commission; it also heard presentations from the TEL
Project (The European Library) and the DELOS Network of Excellence
on Digital Libraries. The NRG discussed the i2010: Digital
Libraries Communication and agreed to prepare a common response
based on responses prepared by Member States.
UK RESPONSE TO
Our response to the Commission's i2010: digital
Libraries Communication was submitted on 30 January 2006 and
published on the DCMS website.
The response stressed that the Dynamic Action
Plan and a European Digital Library complement each other, and
that following the launch of the Plan we hoped that the NRG would
have a key role to play in the implementation of a European Digital
Library. We also noted that we consider the European Digital Library
initiative should promote cultural identity as a whole by using
materials from all cultural institutions, rather than just focusing
on books and printed texts.
The response also addressed the issue of copyright.
In particular, many stakeholders noted that it was important to
involve copyright creators and their representatives in methods
to increase access to content online.
Several stakeholders commented that they would
like a clearer idea of what research and development is already
being done, and how this fits with current work in individual
Member States. Most of those consulted also endorsed the point
made in the Communication that private sponsorship and public/private
partnerships would be required to accelerate the current pace
of digitisation initiatives.
Responses to the Communication have fed into
a Recommendation, which the Commission announced at the end of
August (see http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/digital_libraries/index_en.htm).
The Council will be discussing the Recommendation in November,
and probably adopting conclusions.
The Commission has recently launched a further
consultation on "Content Online in the Single Market".
The deadline for responses to this is 13 October 2006 and DCMS
will be contributing to a UK Government response.
15 October 2006
Letter from the Chairman to David Lammy
Thank you for your letter of 15 October which
provided the report we requested on the meetings which were held
during the consultation on the Commission's i2010: Digital Libraries
initiative. This was considered by the Sub-Committee on 23 November.
We note that the Commission Recommendation12352/06
on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material
and digital preservationwas cleared from scrutiny in our
10 October Chairman's sift. We therefore now release the previous
Communication document 12981/05 from scrutiny.
23 November 2006
143 Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session
2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 636. Back