Cultural diversity

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Now Online: "Europeana," Europe's Digital Library

As of November 20, 2008, Europeana, the online European multimedia library, is available to the public. A European Union press release notes that at www.europeana.eu, Internet users around the world can now access more than two million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archival documents, paintings and films from national libraries and cultural institutions of the EU's 27 Member States. “Europeana opens up new ways of exploring Europe’s heritage: anyone interested in literature, art, science, politics, history, architecture, music or cinema will have free and fast access to Europe's greatest collections and masterpieces in a single virtual library through a web portal available in all EU languages.”

“But this is just the beginning,” adds the EU. In 2010, Europeana will give access to millions of items “representing Europe's rich cultural diversity” and will have interactive zones such as communities for special interests. Between 2009 and 2011 some €2 million per year of EU funding will be dedicated to this. The EU has announced that the Commission also plans to involve the private sector in the further expansion of Europe's digital library. In September 2007, the European Parliament supported, in a resolution voted by an overwhelming majority, the creation of a European digital library.

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, stated: "With Europeana, we combine Europe's competitive advantage in communication and networking technologies with our rich cultural heritage. Europeans will now be able to access the incredible resources of our great collections quickly and easily in a single space."

"Europeana offers a journey through time, across borders, and into new ideas of what our culture is. More than that, it will connect people to their history and, through interactive pages and tools, to each other," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "I now call on Europe's cultural institutions, publishing houses and technology companies to fill Europeana with further content in digital form. We should make Europeana a home for interactive creative participation at the fingertips of people who want to mould their own piece of European culture and share it with others. My objective is that in 2010, Europeana will include at least 10 million objects."

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