U.K. minister to share digital-culture plan

Effort aims to strengthen ties between EU countries, saving them from replicating digitization efforts around museums, libraries.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
The U.K. government plans to announce a plan to make Europe's culture more easily accessible via the Internet.

The Action Plan, which will be unveiled in full on Wednesday by Minister for Culture David Lammy, aims to forge strong links between the EU countries and save member states from replicating digitization efforts around museums, libraries and the like.

A previous European initiative to digitize European cultural artifacts finished earlier this year. Now, along with Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the United Kingdom has drafted the new action plan. Representatives from member states will meet every six months to report on progress, and the group will be charged with setting technical standards and creating best practices.

Announcing the action plan, Lammy said, "This will provide rich and diverse cultural resources to support education and research, tourism and the creative industries, and to enable digital access by all citizens to the national, regional and local cultural heritage of Europe."

Several other organizations have already begun to digitize cultural material. The British Library signed a deal with Microsoft earlier this year to digitize 500,000 books, while a number of Internet companies, including Google, are forging ahead with their own book digitization projects, which have been fraught with copyright issues.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.