digitisation in Europe
Progress report of the
National Representative Group: coordination mechanisms for digitisation
policies and programmes 2002
of Culture, Higher Education and Research
National Report: Luxembourg
The State of
Luxembourg is a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional
monarchy, with a certain place reserved for the direct government
of the nation. The Grand Duke is the Head of State. The Grand-Dukes
freedom from political responsibility is complete and means that
ministers are responsible. Any measure taken by the Grand-Duke in
exercising his political powers must be countersigned by a member
of the Government, who takes full responsibility. In addition, any
act that bears the signature of the Grand Duke must first be submitted
to the deliberation of the Government. The dynasty of the Nassau
family rules over the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg since the 19th century.
- Legislative power is based on the joint action of the Government,
the Chamber of Deputies and the Council of State. The Government
appointed by the Grand Duke submits its political programme to
the Chamber of Deputies, which by a positive vote expresses its
confidence in it. The Government enjoys the right of initiative
in legislative matters which allows it to submit draft laws. The
main function of the Chamber of Deputies, in which the Government
normally has a majority, is to pass draft laws (projets de loi).
The Council of State is obligatory called upon to issue its opinion
on the legislation as a whole, i.e. on all the draft and proposed
laws presented to the Chamber of deputies, before the deputies
vote. The Council of State is consultative in nature.
- The courts and tribunals are entrusted by the Constitution with
the exercise of judicial power. They exercise their functions
- The first Constitution was written in 1841, 2 years after the
Independence of Grand Duchy.
Work in progress for digitisation
During the last years cultural institutes have become conscious
of the problem of long-term preservation and conservation of cultural
heritage. Under the heading of eCulture, the Ministry of Culture,
Higher Education and Research took the opportunity to co-ordinate
all initiatives that analysed the possibilities to offer easy
access to information about cultural heritage to all citizens.
The new site will be online at the end of August 2003.
A first initiative to preserve at long term cultural heritage
and spread information about it, was called "Common database
of cultural institutes" and it had been initiated the last
decade. Being confronted with problems of knowledge, experience,
resources, staff and funds, the latter project expired after several
At the European Council in Freira (Portugal) on 19 and 20 June
2000, a project called eEurope had been adopted; "eEurope:
An Information Society for all". One of the first steps taken
after having launched the project in Luxembourg was to submit
an adapted project to the "National Board for the Information
Society", which is responsible for the "eEurope/eGovernment/eLuxembourg"
A first meeting of the Board took place on 3 August 2000. Eight
points were given priority, as for example, the participation
of all citizens to the Information Society by the means of a digital
content of high quality. It goes without saying that new technologies
together with a better conservation of European cultural heritage
assured by digitisation allows Luxembourg as well as the whole
of Europe to spread information about its cultural diversity all
over the world (eLuxembourg).
To reach these important goals in the cultural sector means long-term
work which starts by drawing up a survey of historic monuments,
paintings, etc. as well as its degree of numerisation.
The law of 28 December 1988 concerning the reorganisation of the
Governments cultural institutes defines the missions of these
establishments. Among others and in the interest of preservation
at long term, the study, the conservation and the propagation
of the cultural heritage must be ensured.
At the moment several interinstitutional as well as interministerial
networks exist in Luxembourg but a co-ordination network is still
missing. Therefore it is most urgent to set up a guide of "good
practice" projects, which aims to be used first by the cultural
institutes and second by all other cultural organisations.
The realization of networks in special fields but also in close
contact to other national and international bodies, will contribute
to reach the objectives. Priorities must be set on the topics,
the procedures, the period of realisation and, most important,
the budget. The co-ordination work with public record offices,
libraries, museums, departments of cultural heritage, audiovisual
centres, cultural associations and foundations as well as with
other entities involved in this project, like the national data
processing centre or the Ministry of National Education among
others, is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture,
Higher Education and Research.
The National Library (2001) and the National Audiovisual Centre
(2002) launched each a project based on eLuxembourg criteria:
the conservation of cultural heritage but also its propagation.
Following the same lines, the Ministry of Culture also plans to
be federating for most of the cultural bodies. Close collaboration
and the creation of synergies are the secrets of success. Common
goals could be reached in quite a short time if services were
offered like, for example, a cultural agenda, a national ticket
booking office, newsletters, recording, national and international
collaborations, research facilities, etc. And, in a longer period
of time, the digilisation of cultural heritage could be a joint
action. In the end, important goals would be reached through the
co-ordination of the Ministry of Culture such as the democratisation
of culture and its facility of access to all citizens as well
as the long-time preservation of the cultural heritage, both build
Co-ordination of national
So far Luxembourg
has no co-ordination network. Several attempts were doomed to failure,
often because of lack of financial resources or staff.
At present, new impulses come from different cultural sectors in
order to set up the digitisation of cultural heritage by new technologies.
The library sector
and integration of an electronic research platform is a premise
for the numerisation of the publications and other Luxembourgish
documents as well as the whole stock of the printed catalogue of
the National Library of Luxembourg. This acquisition should also
be accompanied by the development of a concept for the control of
the numerical documents and a virtual library, and it should be
able to offer an educational framework (http://www.BnL.lu).
The aim of an international co-operation between Swiss Library,
National Library of France, German Library and British Library is
to allow readers to do their research in the catalogues of these
libraries by using the language of their choice.
Other libraries have also engaged important numerisation projects
on their cultural heritage. The advantages of this way of procedure
are obvious: less damage of originals by handling, easier access
to documents even to those formerly inaccessible, exploration of
new methods of conservation. A new law should also open up the registration
of copyright of numerised documents; therefore the National Library
of Luxembourg has to develop precise concept of the collection,
conservation and control of these documents and consider a technical
and a juridical section.
The audiovisual sector
of audiovisual and photographic cultural heritage is one of the
most important tasks of next years schedule of the National Audiovisual
Centre. A priority will be given to the recording and the preservation
of audiovisual and photographic material as well as to the facility
of access of that sector to the professionals and general public.
This involves a more or less automatic management of digitalised
documents and archives. To develop and to propagate the audiovisual
cultural heritage by using the Internet also means to create a contemporary
image of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg in more and more computerised
society. This ambitious programme should run over five years.
The Museum sector
the digitilisation programmes are built up for the National Museum
of History and Art (http://www.mnha.lu)
and the National Museum of Natural History (http://www.mnhn.lu).
Both pilot programmes should be structured in such a way that most,
if not all, of the other museums and art galleries could easily
benefit from these works. The approach is probably the same as the
one was adopted for libraries. As digitisation is used at very different
levels, from very good ones to nearly non-existant ones, the inventory
of existing material is vital. The creation of an international
multilanguage thesaurus is one of the concerns of the National Museum
of Natural History. The two national museum work closely together
in order to achieve a coherent work and are at the moment leading
The public records sector
So far, computer
network systems are not so well developed in the public record offices.
A first step to produce an inventory is on the rails and the principles
of Lund were the kick off to the work inside Public Record Office.
A participation in the Ministrys project means not only the sharing
of experiences and knowledge but also a complete integration of
coherent work. Restoration and conservation are common tasks of
all cultural institutes. The revision of the actual Internet page
a first approach.
The National Centre of Literature (http://literaturarchiv.lu/fr/index.php)
is a scientific research centre focusing on the documentation of
literature of Luxembourg. A library and an archive are at the disposal
of researchers. This cultural institute also gives fresh impetus
to the common digitisation project of the Ministry of Culture.
The monuments and historic
of the preservation of national monuments and historic sites carried
out an inventory of their digitalised material and is developing
at this moment a homepage. The result should be accessible on Internet
at the end of this year. The close working together with the other
cultural institutes guarantees quality of the expected results as
well as important costs reduction. Another idea to be followed up
closely is the preservation of monuments or other historic constructions
The research sector
A main research
project is called ENA, European NAvigator. Its aim is to open high-quality
information about the history of the European construction, the
historical and the institutional evolution to students, teachers,
searchers, journalists as well as to the general public, An important
digitisation work has begun and first results are already presented
on the Web: http://www.enafree.lu.
A project called "Living in Luxembourg" is a collaboration
between different cultural institutes, ministries, administrations
and local authorities; together they are analysing the valorisation
of territory. This research project makes it possible to develop
an instrument for scientific research and for administrative management
of cultural heritage. Collaboration with international partners
especially of the bordering countries constitutes an added value
The education sector
A pilot project was launched in a secondary school where the students
were given portables in order to draw their attention to the possibilities
of this instrument in their studies: they learned how to use it
as a medium during lessons or for research work, alone or in a
team. The working out of an educational method for the integration
of the portable in school is being followed up closely.
The computerisation of the Institute for educational and social
studies means centralising documentary data bases in order to
create a visual library for the institutions of higher education.
The development of this expert appraisement is covered by the
educational centre called ISERP (Institut supérieur détudes
et de recherches pédagogiques).
The installation of an infrastructure with high output for the
institutes of education, research and culture is provided by a
The Centre of Documentation and Information for Higher Education
is looking for an online system that manages the international
subsidies for students as well as all information in relation
with post-secondary studying.
The research of new methods of learning, the development of expertise
in an open, technologically-enriched educational content and the
continuous formation of teachers, are the aims of other projects
in the educational sector. In general, important efforts are made
in order to integrate new computer technologies in schools (http://www.myschool.lu).
The basic strategy
of the Ministry of Culture is to develop an brisk and modern image
of the national cultural sector. Therefore the creation of an efficient,
modern "portal" that satisfies the expectations of the clients,
is a first priority. To reach this ambitious goal, it is vital that
the co-operation between ministries, cultural institutes, cultural
foundations and associations works at highest level.
An important co-operation was started between the department of
Culture and the departments of Higher Education and Research at
the Ministry. As priority was given to educational projects but
also to major research ones, the Ministry of National Education
was integrated in the working groups.
The preservation of the Luxembourg language is a project under the
responsibility of the Permanent Council of the Luxembourg language
The studying of the possibilities of easy access to all citizens
remains a first priority.
A second one is to explore the existing information, to establish
an inventory and to define the possibilities to digitise these information
as far as possible following existing standards.
Not only the Ministry of Culture is involved in this project, but
also all cultural institutes and most of the cultural associations.
To facilitate the access to information remains a big challenge;
but also the valorisation of the monuments and other historical
constructions under preservation, the intention to favour the communication
between the ministries, the cultural institutes and the public in
general, plays a most important part. All this should lead to the
democratisation of "Culture".
Based on available inventories, the searchers are also looking for
that part of cultural heritage (collections, documents, maps, etc.)
which has not been digitised so far: like this, an overview of it
all can be established and the possibilities of restoration, if
needed, may be analysed in order to guarantee long-time preservation
Co-ordination of other
national initiatives in connection with eEurope, e-Government,e-Luxembourg,
The task force
eLuxembourg co-ordinates projects concerning eEurope and information
can be found on the Internet: http://www.eluxembourg.lu/
European and international
The cultural institutions of Luxembourg are involved in many international
networks with their specialised sector (museums, archives, libraries,
etc.). The founding of a working group of experts of each cultural
sector is initiated. This also enables Luxembourg to take part
in international meetings and networks in order to exchange experience
Best practice references
before, for the last two years, the cultural institutions started
important initiatives in order to open up their cultural heritage
to the citizens and to the scientists. These projects have covered
many years of hard work but first results can be expected at the
end of 2003.