The European Union has launched a vast online library offering people
across the globe access to millions of books, movies and other items
from the 27-member block. Lisa Bryant has more on Europe's efforts to
showcase its cultural heritage - via the Internet.
Call it the
21st century version of the famous Alexandria library that served as a
hub of knowledge in ancient times. Europe is offering a similar trove
of information via the Internet - allowing users to access tens of
thousands of paintings, books, manuscripts, sound recordings,
newspapers and other items from across the European Union.
Commission spokesman Martyn Selmayr says the Europeana digital library
is planning to expand enormously in the years to come.
its just the beginning," he said. "We have two million objects today on
Europeana - cultural objects which exist in digital form. Our
objective is to have by the year 1010, 10 million digitized objects
available from all over Europe and they will be offered in 23 languages
so that everybody around the world has access to these cultural
heritages of the European Union member states.
digitalized representations of masterpieces from the Louvre museum in
Paris or manuscripts of composers like Beethoven - or books from
libraries around Europe - although only a small fraction of the
region's 2.5 billion books will be available online in the coming years.
The project is one way to showcase the European Union - this time through its cultural heritage.
the one side it shows that Europe is made up not of a single unified
culture but that it has 27-member nations and each one of them has a
very long history," said Selmayr. "It also shows what we have in
common and gives the perspective of the neighbors."
"For example, the
fall of the Berlin Wall - very important for German history and also
for European history - is something you can find on Europeana in the
form of a film that is today stored in the French national audiovisual
institute. Germans, Hungarians, British citizens and also Americans
can see this big event, but through the eyes of French citizens," he continued.
Those who want to check out the new European library can click on http://dev.europeana.eu/.