Europe's Culture Gets Virtual Backup

EU plans to digitize 10,000 artifacts
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2008 5:10 PM CDT
The effort to preserve Europe's maps, films, photos, and paintings was sparked by Google's rival library project.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – European culture is going digital. Priceless items such as the Magna Carta, the Mona Lisa, and the Gutenberg Bible will eventually be accessible worldwide for free on “Europeana,” an online encyclopedia funded by the European Union. It plans to match Google Library Project’s 10 million artifacts by 2010, Der Spiegel reports.

About 2 million items—books, maps, paintings, photos, and films—will be up next month as librarians begin synching existing collections’ so-called metadata, the web’s Dewey Decimal System. It’s a “Herculean task,” an EU spokesman admits, but an essential one to preserve crumbling artifacts, seemingly forever. Unless, of course, future technology renders the project’s file formats obsolete.