Europe Formalises Project To Create Large Online Heritage Library

The European Commission has instituted a plan to digitise the content of museums, libraries and A/V archives around the continent to create a pan-European online access point. Information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding last night endorsed the just-created foundation that will execute the plan, which is led by the Conference of European National Librarians. A prototype is scheduled to go live in November 2008, giving access to at least two million books, photos, maps, archives and film from libraries, museums and other sources. The plan is that, two years later, it will contain more than six million items.

Reding said two issues must first be overcome: “the financing of digitisation and solutions for making copyrighted works searchable through the European digital library”. The solution, the foundation posits, could be public-private partnership funds. Interestingly, Reding said science publishers have now agreed to contribute their articles to the system after an embargo period despite earlier reticence on copyright concerns – they are compelled to cough up science papers if they have been produced using any European taxpayers’ money. Via release.

Regulation: Meanwhile, the competition commissioner Neelie Kroes has published new guidelines for companies that want to buy their suppliers (think: Google (NSDQ: GOOG) buying DoubleClick, BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) buying Amstrad). The new regs are available on the commission’s website.