Europe´s Cultural Heritage Online

Europeana

Since 2007, ACE is a member of the Europeana Foundation which runs europeana.eu, the cultural heritage portal giving access to millionsbooks, paintings, films, museum objects and archival records that have been digitised throughout Europe. It is an authoritative source of information coming from European cultural and scientific institutions.  ACE and FIAF archives contribute films and related material to Europeana via the European Film Gateway.

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Comité des Sages

Reflexion Group on Bringing Europe´s Cultural Heritage On-line

The “Comité des Sages” (Reflection Group) was set up in April 2010 by Neelie Kroes, Vice President responsible for the Digital Agenda, and Commissioner in charge for Education and Culture Androulla Vassiliou.

The Comité comprised Maurice Lévy (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of advertising and communications company Publicis), Elisabeth Niggemann (Director-General of the German National Library and chair of the Europeana Foundation) and Jacques De Decker (author and Permanent Secretary of Belgium’s Royal Academy of French Language and Literature).

The task of the Group was to make recommendations to the European Commission, European cultural institutions and any stakeholders, on ways and means to make Europe’s cultural heritage and creativity available on the Internet and to preserve it for future generations, looking in particular at funding sources, at how cultural organisations and the private sector can interact in the digital age, and at responsibilities and solutions for digitising material that is in the public domain or still in copyright.

The “Comité des Sages” launched a consultation process to feed its reflection and subsequent recommendations. The consultation covered key issues such as the sources of funding for digitisation, the exploitation models of content digitised with public funding, and the conditions governing public-private partnerships for digitisation. The Comité gathered the views of stakeholders and the general public and organised an online consultation and a public hearing on 28 October 2010 in Brussels. At the hearing, Thomas Christensen (Curator at the Danish Film Institute and ACE Secretary General) presented a position paper on behalf of ACE.

On 10 January 2011, the Comité delivered their Report titled “The New Renaissance”, urging EU Member States to step up their efforts to put Europe’s cultural heritage online. The report makes recommendations in the field of digitisation, online accessibility and preservation of Europe’s cultural heritage in the digital age, and how to finance these efforts. Europeana should be further developed to become the key reference point for Europe’s cultural heritage online, and play a key role in the preservation of digitised and born digital material. The report also stresses the need to bring orphan works and works out-of-distribution online. Referring to several surveys, amongst others the ACE survey on orphan works, the “Comité des Sages” believes that a European legal instrument needs to be adopted as soon as possible. This instrument should cover all cultural heritage sectors and be implemented in all Member States.