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Chronicle of Higher Ed on European DL

Of possible interest. From the Thursday, 5 May online issue, available to 


European Union Officials Support French-Led Proposal for Digital Library 
of Europe's Literature

A French-led project to establish a digital library of European literary
and cultural works -- begun in response to a U.S.-based library project
led by Google -- was endorsed this week by key European Union figures.

Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg, whose country currently
holds the rotating presidency of the 25-nation bloc, expressed his support
for a European digital archive, as did a leading member of the European
Commission, the executive arm of the European Union.

Earlier this year, Jean-Nol Jeanneney, president of the National Library
of France, warned that plans by Google and five leading academic
institutions and libraries in the United States and Britain to digitize
and make available online the content of millions of volumes posed a risk
to Europe's cultural heritage through "Anglo Saxon" domination of online

Mr. Jeanneney was asked by President Jacques Chirac of France to work with
France's minister of culture and communication, Renaud Donnedieu de
Vabres, to begin outlining plans for a European project similar in scope
to the Google enterprise.

Last month 19 European national libraries, including France's, announced
their support for the digital project. They said the project was "aimed at
a large and organized digitization of the works belonging to our
continent's heritage."

In the run-up to a summit of European culture ministers in Paris, six
European leaders sent a letter to Prime Minister Juncker and Jos Manuel
Barroso, president of the European Commission, underscoring the priority
they attach to the project.

"The heritage of European libraries is unequaled in its richness and
diversity," the leaders wrote. "However, if it is not digitized and made
accessible online, this heritage could, tomorrow, not fill its just place
in the future geography of knowledge."

European leaders appeared to have heeded the calls for action.


copyright 2005, Chronicle of Higher Education