The Digital Libraries Initiative aims at making European information resources easier and more interesting to use in an online environment. It builds on Europe's rich heritage combining multicultural and multilingual environments with technological advances and new business models. It was part of the European Commission's i2010 strategy for the digital economy.
Digital libraries are organised collections of digital content made available to the public. They can consist of material that has been digitised, such as digital copies of books and other 'physical' material from libraries and archives. Alternatively, they can be based on information originally produced in digital format. This is increasingly the case in the area of scientific information, where digital publications and enormous quantities of information are stored in digital repositories. Both aspects — digitised and born digital material — are covered by this initiative.
The Commission launched this initiative adopted in September 2005, with its Communication 'i2010: Digital Libraries', focusing on cultural heritage. On 14 February 2007, the Commission also adopted a Communication on access to scientific information in the digital age. It deals with two key issues of how to improve access to scientific information (both publications and data) in the digital age and how to keep digital scientific information accessible and usable for future generations.
The initiative focuses on two areas:
- 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.
On 24 August 2006, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation, aimed at improving the framework conditions for digital libraries in Member States.
The Initiative supports the development of Europeana — the European digital library — based on a collaboration between Europe's cultural institutions.
United States Edit
The Digital Libraries Initiative, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Library of Congress (LoC), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Library of Medicine, and National Endowment for the Humanities, fostered research and development for hundreds of digital libraries.
External resource Edit
- Stephen M. Griffin, NSF/DARPA/NASA Digital Libraries Initiative, D-Lib Mag. (July/Aug. 1998) (full-text).