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The European Library : Integrated access to the national libraries of Europe

Britta Woldering

lundi 20 décembre 2004, par Collecte CND R.L

The European Library (TEL) Project [1] completed at the end of January 2004. The key aim of TEL was to investigate the feasibility of establishing a new Pan-European service which would ultimately give access to the combined resources of the national libraries of Europe [2].

The project was partly funded by the European Commission as an accompanying measure under the cultural heritage applications area of Key Action 3 of the Information Societies Technology (IST) research programme.

The project ran for 36 months with the following partners : the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), the national libraries of Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with ICCU, the national central cataloguing institute from Italy.


The main strands of work in the accompanying measure were :

• Investigation of the potential agreements such a service might negotiate with publishers concerning the provision of digital resources across Europe

• Establishing a consensus among the national libraries of Europe on the service requirements and the creation of a model for the development, management and funding of a service acceptable to all the libraries

• Development of metadata profiles to which national libraries supplying data to the service agreed to conform and a metadata environment which would enable the evolution of these profiles as required

• The testing of a technical environment which would combine access via some kind of portal to existing national library distributed Z39.50 targets and an XML-based central index of data collected from various national libraries’ databases.

At the end of the accompanying measure the partners had established with sufficient confidence that it was feasible to develop an operational service on the basis of the work done. Development of the service, to be known as "The European Library", started in January 2004 and the first version of it is expected to be launched by late 2004 - early 2005.


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