The EU is launching its European digital library this Thursday: Europeana. The vast store of cultural heritage uses the latest available technologies to capture in digital record millions of films, photographs, paintings, audio files, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and books.
International users will have access through the Internet to participating institutions such as the British library to consult major works, or study art objects kept in museums such as the Louvre.
Europeana’s around two million digital items are all in the public domain already. It is scheduled to be fully operational by 2010, with 10 million works available online. That is around 1% of the books in the EU’s national libraries. That figure is expected to grow to 4% by 2012. The EU project also aims to operate in 21 languages.