The European Commission has reported on its progress in creating a European Digital Library and annouced its aim to achieve integrated access to the digitized material of Europe’s cultural institutions.
The EC says that, using the system, users will ultimately be able to search different collections of cultural institutions (libraries, archives, museums) through one single multilingual entry point, which will take the form of a web portal.
The EC envisions full EU-wide collaboration between national libraries in the framework of The European Library (TEL) and the Conference of European National Libraries (CENL) by the end of 2006.
By 2008 it expects multilingual access to digital collections of national libraries through the TEL portal. It says it expects a minimum of two million digital works including books, pictures and audio files to then be accessible through the European digital library, and expects this figure to increase to six million by 2010.
The EC’s update on the progress of the European Digital Library coincides with the formation of a partnership between Google and the British Library to provide improved access to scholarly documents through Google Scholar. The expansion in digitization and online libraries initiatives signifies the increasing demand for such services.