January 23, 2022

European Commission Recommendation: "Encouraging Digitisation of EU Culture to Help Boost Growth"


The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation asking EU Member States to step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve the private sector in digitising cultural material. This is essential to make European cultural heritage more widely available and to boost growth in Europe’s creative industries. The digitised material should be made available through Europeana, Europe’s digital library, archive and museum.

The Recommendation challenges Member States to develop solid plans and build partnerships to place 30 million objects in Europeana by 2015 compared to the 19 million available today; to get more in-copyright and out-of-commerce material online; and to adapt national legislation and strategies to ensure the long-term preservation of digital materials.


Europeana, which started out with 2 million items when it was launched in 2008, currently holds more than 19 million objects, which are now accessible through a more intuitive and interactive interface. In order to provide a more balanced set of contributions from across Europe, the Recommendation sets targets per Member State for minimum content contribution by 2015.

The Recommendation builds on the conclusions of the Comité des Sages (high level reflection group) on bringing Europe’s cultural heritage online, established in 2010 (see IP IP/11/17).

Adoption of measures to support cultural and creative industries and ensuring a sustainable model for financing Europeana are among the goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).


The new Recommendation updates a 2006 Recommendation issued in. It takes account of Member States’ progress reports from 2008 and 2010, which show that although there has been some improvement, more action is needed as regards financial resources, quantitative targets for digitisation and solid support for Europeana.

The Recommendation invites Member States to:

  • Put in place solid plans for their investments in digitisation and foster public-private partnerships to share the cost of digitisation. The Recommendation spells out key principles to ensure that such partnerships are fair and balanced.
  • Make 30 million objects available through Europeana by 2015, including all Europe’s masterpieces which are no longer protected by copyright, and all material digitised with public funding.
  • Get more in-copyright material online, by, for example, creating the legal framework conditions enabling large-scale digitisation and cross-border accessibility of out-of-commerce works.
  • Reinforce their strategies and adapt their legislation to ensure the long-term preservation of digital material by, for example, ensuring the material deposited is not protected by technical measures that impede librarians from preserving it.

Read the Complete Announcement Including Indicative Targets (by Country)

Direct to Recommendation on the digitisation of cultural material and its preservation on line FAQ

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.