EU digital library plans under threat

Governments renege on funding promises

BRUSSELS -- The EU’s dream of a European digital library, designed to hold a massive archive of cultural works including movies and television programs, is in danger to collapse as national governments renege on funding promises, it emerged Monday.

The $375 million project, set to be co-funded through EU aid and private sector partnerships, would include six million cultural works, and be available to anyone with an Internet connection.

But EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding warned Monday that governments were jeopardizing the project by dragging their heels on support. “More public and private investment is needed to speed up digitization,” she said, appealing to pubic authorities to honor their promises to offer funding and resources.

As well as money, the project needs modern technologies to digitize content stored in traditional formats, like photographic negatives, films on reels, and music on vinyl records or tape -- and use common, existing digital standards to ensure interoperability of content.