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Collaboration is key for preservation, says Europeana

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More collaboration between interested parties is required if the world's digital cultural heritage is to be properly protected, according to the National Documentation Centre of Greece (EKT) and Europeana – Europe's platform for innovation in digital cultural heritage.

The ‘Europeana for Research' report suggests that Europe's digital cultural heritage can provide clear benefits for research, innovation and the citizens of Europe. Research has become digital at every stage of the process and researchers increasingly rely on online resources and tools to gain instant access to data, publications and content; therefore, there is an urgent need that the rich content of our public cultural heritage organisations becomes openly available for this purpose.

The recommendations call on the research and culture sectors – as well as ministries and funders – to work together at the national and European level to optimise potential gains. The report raises the issue that trusted and re-usable digitised cultural heritage data and content don't exist online to the same degree as in the science, technology and medicine disciplines. Also, it says that the value of our digital cultural heritage has not been emphasised enough by cultural heritage institutions and policymakers.

The report makes the following recommendations to policymakers:

  • Work together at the national and European level for coordinated policies, strategies and practices that support the greatest possible openness and reuse of  Europe's digital cultural heritage;
  • Collaborate at the national and European level, using Europeana where possible, to meet the increasing demand for digitised cultural content for research;
  • Promote the use of Europeana as a resource for research and capitalise on existing investment by encouraging synergies among related initiatives, infrastructures and stakeholders;
  • Take active and coordinated measures to enable the widest possible access to Europe's digitised cultural heritage;
  • Develop policies and agree instruments at EU level that enable and promote synergies among initiatives and e-infrastructures of similar scope to capitalise on investments already committed for the promotion of research and digital culture, and support the European dialogue of relevant stakeholders; and
  • Develop the specific legal measures needed to allow for text and data mining.

Evi Sachini, director of the National Documentation Centre of Greece, said: ‘The ‘Europeana in Research' recommendations are fully aligned with the European Council Conclusions of May 2014, which recognised cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe. It is encouraging that these recommendations are jointly validated both by research and cultural heritage policymakers, since close collaboration of these two sectors is essential in achieving the full potential of our digital cultural heritage for research, society and economy.

'The recommendations  provide clear directions for action in making better use of digitised cultural heritage in research, and highlight the importance of strengthening the synergies between cultural policies on one hand, and regional development, social cohesion, tourism, education, the digital agenda, research and innovation policies, on the other.'