Parliamentarians call for more books to be put online


The European Parliament has asked the Commission to speed up the process of setting up a European Digital Library, which aims to become a one-stop shop for accessing literary and scientific works online. 

Digital libraries are essential for enabling scholars and students to access the rapidly growing number of sientific publications worldwide, as well as ensuring the accessibility of Europe’s cultural heritage.  In a 2005 Communication on digital libraries, the Commission found that in order to meet those requirements, digital libraries must meet the triple challenge of on-line accessibility, digitisation of analogue collections and preservation and storage. 

In a resolution adopted on 27 September 2007, the European Parliament supported the Commission’s two-year old Communication. Parliamentarians stressed, however,  that the European Library should “not aim to disseminate content exclusively, but to coordinate access to digital works” in order for it to become “a single, direct and multilingual access point for the European cultural heritage”. 

They recommended that the European Library “must initially concentrate on the potential offered by text material that is free of rights” and invited “all European libraries to make available to the European Digital Library works that are free of rights which they already hold in digital form”. MEPs stressed that “common standards based on existing formats” should be used in order to facilitate access. 

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