Europe's digital library launches

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Europeana, Europe’s multimedia online library is now open to the public. It enables people around the world to access more than two million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archival documents, paintings and films online. These resources come from national libraries and cultural institutions of the European Union's 27 Member States.

'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,' commented José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. 'Europeana is much more than a library, it is a veritable dynamo to inspire 21st century Europeans to emulate the creativity of innovative forbears like the drivers of the Renaissance.'

Europeana was initiated by the Commission in 2005 and is run by the European Digital Library Foundation. Europeana is hosted by the Dutch national library, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, and contains material from over 1,000 cultural organisations from across Europe.

The development does not stop here though. In 2010, Europeana 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 European Commission also plans to involve the private sector in the further expansion of Europeana.

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media said: 'I now call on Europe's cultural institutions, publishing houses and technology companies to fill Europeana with further content in digital form. My objective is that in 2010, Europeana will include at least 10 million objects.'