Co-ordination mechanisms for digitisation
policies and programmes:
6th Official Meeting of the National Representatives Group (NRG)
Dublin, 28th June 2004
Summary and Objectives of the meeting
As part of the programme for the Irish Presidency of the European
Union, the sixth meeting of the National Representatives Group
(NRG) was held on 28 June in Dublin. A conference “Access
all areas: Serving the user” was held on 29 June. Both
events were hosted by the Irish Department of Arts, Sport and
Tourism in co-operation with the National Museum of Ireland and
An Chomhairle Leabharlanna and supported by MINERVA.
The NRG was established, according to its Terms of Reference
(ToR), to monitor, implement and coordinate actions concerning
digitisation programmes and policies in Europe. Formal adoption
or endorsement of the ToR by the participating EU Member States
is ongoing and progress is reported regularly to the NRG.
The Lund Principles are a set of guiding objectives concerning
digitisation and the coordination of Member States policies and
programmes. The Lund Action Plan maps out the actions needed and
is updated with progress and planning on a six-monthly cycle.
The actions are agreed at NRG meetings, and the MINERVA network,
working with the Member States representatives, turns those actions
into a practical reality.
The specific objectives of the meeting in Dublin
- Welcome the New Member State’s representatives to the
NRG; welcome Norway as an EFTA state, the Council of Europe
and Russia and Israel as observers at the meeting.
- Approve the “Progress Assessment of the Coordinating
Digitisation in Europe Initiative in the Member States”
- the draft Final Report on progress in meeting the objectives
outlined in the Lund Principles, which was undertaken during
the Irish Presidency.
- Identify and prioritise emerging issues and identify concrete
results. Recommend and endorse new strategies and actions to
take these forward through the Lund Action Plan and other relevant
- Identify and discuss the proposals put forward under the
Netherlands, Luxembourg and United Kingdom Presidencies for
the future sustainability of the coordination initiative.
This report presents the key statements from the meeting, the
progress made up to June 2004 for each action line, future actions
and emerging issues.
- The NRG welcomed New Member States’ representatives
from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Malta,
Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia to their first meeting as members
of the European Union. Apologies were received from the representatives
of Lithuania and Luxembourg. Also welcomed to the NRG meeting
were Ms. Pat Manson, Head of Unit Technology-enhanced Learning:
Cultural Heritage Directorate General Information Society, the
Council of Europe attending as observers for the first time
and the NRG observers from Norway, Russia and Israel. Norway
were there for the first time. The NRG hopes to continue the
co-operation between the NRG and the Council of Europe.
The new member states with Russia and Israel are partners in
MINERVA Plus, which has a synchronised workplan with MINERVA
and which held joint meetings in Budapest in February 2004 and
in Florence in April 2004. The new NRG members were already
welcomed at the NRG meeting held in Parma in November 2003 during
the Italian Presidency.
- The Dublin Folio of documents was launched at the meeting.
- Good Practice Handbook;
- Coordinating Digitisation in Europe; Progress Report of
the NRG 2003;
- The Charter of Parma.
- The next NRG report is planned for late 2004 and will include
the 25 Member States and a strong focus on strategic issues.
MINERVA will edit this report for publication.
- The Progress Assessment Report Coordinating Digitisation in
Europe documents the progress in implementing the Lund Action
Plan. This report was undertaken by the Irish Presidency. It
was co-funded by the Irish and Italian presidencies. Under MINERVA
Plus, the review process, which was begun with The Progress
Assessment Report, will monitor progress by the NRG in the reviewing
of the Lund Principles and the development of a new Action Plan.
It will take into account the response to the Commission’s
Consultation on the 2005/6 IST Work Programme which outlines
the view and the priorities of the NRG. It will also continue
to assess the progress of implementing the Lund Principles under
the Netherlands and Luxembourg Presidencies. The final Progress
Assessment Report will be launched under the Luxembourg Presidency
in June 2005.
- The NRG confirms the need to revisit the Lund Principles and
the Lund Action Plan. It was agreed that consideration of the
Lund Principles and a new Action Plan would be included in The
Netherlands Presidency agenda and will be further discussed
in The Hague at the NRG meeting on 17 September 2004. It was
agreed that the Assessment Review of MINERVA Plus WP7 would
- The NRG agreed that digital preservation remains a central
concern for the future.
- Sustainability of the strategic cooperation, which has been
put in place through the NRG, and the mechanism to support this
were discussed. A task force comprising nominations from the
NRG Meeting was set up with the aim of discussing and planning
the long-term sustainability of the digitisation coordination
between Members States and the European Commission. The Task
Force at present comprises 16 countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus,
Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands,
Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, and United Kingdom) with
Ireland and Luxembourg as observers. Israel also attended the
meeting. Members will produce a draft report before the 7th
NRG meeting in The Hague on 17 September 2004.
Progress of implementation up to June 2004
The Lund Action Plan 2001-2005 takes as its reference the Lund
Principles, identifying four main areas where specific actions
- Improving policies and programmes through cooperation and
- Discovery of digitised resources;
- Promotion of good practice;
- Content framework.
For each action the Action Plan defines objectives, the implementation
approach and associated tasks, actors, and results achieved. NRG
has launched various activities to cover issues within the four
Progress in other areas
The 1st NRG Report, which was circulated widely within the member
states, disseminated information in relation to the variety and
the progress of national initiatives on digitisation across the
EU. The 2nd NRG Report “Coordinating digitisation in Europe”,
progress report of the National Representatives Group 2003 had
been published and is being distributed; it includes the report
of old and new Members States, with Russia and Israel. The next
NRG report is planned for September 2004 and will be coordinated
by The Netherlands Presidency.
Minerva Knowledge base
The MINERVA Knowledge Base is under development for the MINERVA
web site. This on-line tool is intended to give detailed information
about previous and ongoing activities, to provide exchange of
information on digitisation within the Members States, including
the completion of questionnaires on-line about benchmarking and
multilingualism, the submission of good practices examples, and
the obtainment of information about the IST issues across Europe.
Following the work carried out by Finland, Greece, United Kingdom,
The Netherlands and Italy in developing a benchmarking model,
a set of benchmarking indicators were agreed. The implementation
of the benchmarking activities has been proceeding within the
Members States after the final deliverable of Work Package 2.
Following an initiative launched by the Greek Presidency a digitisation
cluster was established to maximise the impact and effectiveness
of EU funded IST research projects and activities, particularly
those developed in FP6. The Projects have agreed to evaluate the
MINERVA Technical Guidelines as the basis for the development
of their projects. The next meeting of the Network is planned
for Strasbourg in the autumn.
Further information on the digitisation cluster are available
Inventories and resource discovery
France and Hungary, as coordinators for the Working Group on
“Inventories, Discovery of digitised content, multilingual
issues”, have undertaken actions to:
- Examine a common description model implemented through MICHAEL;
- Circulate a questionnaire about multilingual thesauri for
Results are expected by the next NRG meeting in The Hague on
17 September 2004.
UK and Greece, as coordinators for the Working Group on “Interoperability
and Service Provision, Business Models”, have finalised
the Technical Guidelines and the design of a future Observatory,
to be included in the discussion of the sustainability of the
co-ordination initiative. The first version of the Technical Guidelines
were presented in Dublin. The final version will be published
on the occasion of the 7th NRG meeting in The Hague.
Following the launch of the Quality Principles under the Italian
Presidency, the Quality Editorial Board, led by Belgium, presented
the final draft of the Cultural Website Quality Principles: A
Practical Guide. This final draft will be presented at the ICHIM
Conference in August 2004 where the strategy for its dissemination
and validation in Europe will be discussed in the frame of a focused
workshop. Final version of the Guide together with a plan for
its implementation will be presented at the next NRG in The Hague.
A Task Force made up of representatives of the NRG and the observer
countries was set up with the aim of discussing and planning the
long-term sustainability of the coordination initiative. Possible
strategies for sustainability were discussed at the Dublin meeting
and will be further discussed in The Hague on 17 September 2004.
Immediate actions (June– December 2004)
Practical actions to be undertaken before the next NRG meeting:
- The 2nd NRG Report will be distributed to all NRG members
for circulation in their own countries. Members are encouraged
to use the report to highlight and market digitisation initiatives.
- The 3rd NRG report is planned for December 2004, under the
- The Good Practice Handbook was published in English for the
Dublin meeting. A French, Italian and Portuguese version will
be presented at the NRG meeting in The Hague on the 17 September
- The Progress Assessment Report will be continued by the Irish
partner in MINERVA Plus and will assess the on-going work under
the Netherlands Presidency. The revised report will be circulated
in December 2004. The final report will be launched during the
- The Practical Guide for the interpretation of the 10 quality
principles, which was presented at the Dublin meeting, will
be finalised for publication for the meeting in The Hague in
September 2004. Postcards listing the 10 principles for cultural
web site will be published in English, French, German and Italian
for the meeting in The Hague on 17 September 2004. Translations
into other languages will follow.
- Following an initiative launched by the Greek Presidency
a digitisation cluster was established to maximise the impact
and effectiveness of EU funded digitisation projects and activities.
The next meeting is planned for Strasbourg in the autumn.
- The working group on IPR will investigate European legislation
regarding IPR issues. The group will be examining key components
constituting an IPR management and protection system and analysing
successful IPR projects around Europe in order to produce a
concrete business model. The results on the IPR workpackage
are expected by the next NRG meeting in The Hague on 17 September
- The working group on “Inventories, discovery of digitised
content, multilingual issues” has undertaken actions to
produce a common description model implemented through MICHAEL.
The group has circulated a questionnaire about multilingual
thesauri for cultural applications. Results on the questionnaire
are expected to be available at the next NRG meeting in The
- The working group on “Good practices and Competence
Centres” will investigate cost reductions issues.
- The Netherlands Presidency will initiate the process to revisit
the Lund Principles and the Action Plan, as well as the current
organization of the co-ordination initiative.
The meeting agreed that the NRG members at national level would
undertake and support the following actions, in addition to the
ongoing support for the workgroups coordinated through MINERVA.
Emerging strategic issues
Future strategies and EU-added value
The Lund Action Plan will close in 2005. A follow-up is under
discussion and preparation by NRG and Minerva.
The concept of a portal is increasingly seen as valuable tool
to present cultural resources and to dialogue with the citizen.
Today it should be seen as an important practical step in providing
improved access to cultural collections. Many Member State reports
highlight the role of cultural portals, and/or culture “nets”,
and indirectly underline the increasing importance of collection
building and standards. Portals and culture-nets can integrate
work on policy profiles, inventories and interoperability, research
on distributed digital libraries, resource discovery services,
collection descriptions, quality, accessibility and usability,
multilingualism, best practices, etc. The portal is an excellent
way to reach a very wide user community and offer a set of e-services
based upon digital heritage. The portal federates the efforts
of cultural and memory organisations (archives, libraries, museums),
e-government actors, academia, and industry. Today education and
cultural tourism are two of the most powerful drives for creating
these applications; however others can be expected to emerge in
The International Digitisation Conference organised by the Irish
MINERVA Plus partners – Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism,
the National Museum of Ireland and An Chomhairle Leabharlanna/The
Library Council – was held on 29th June and focused on “Access
all areas: serving the user”. The conference offered an
opportunity to reflect and to question the impact of digitisation
on archives, libraries and museums and especially on how cultural
institutions can make their services relevant to the users.
A conference in The Hague will be held on 17th September and
will focus on “Strategies for a European Area of Digital
Cultural Resources”. The scope of the conference is the
development of the public sustainable and trusted European digital
space where cultural resources and cultural knowledge can be shared
and accessed without the impediments of time and space.
Conclusions of the meeting
The NRG appreciated the Irish Presidency’s work in support
of the Lund Action Plan and welcomed the discussions on sustainability
and future actions. It also welcomed, at a practical level, the
development of concrete results and products and the follow-up
given to the former Presidencies work on digital preservation.
In particular, the NRG welcomed the focus on revisiting the Lund
Principles with a new Action Plan and the sustainability issue
for the NRG .
The Netherlands Presidency will host the 7th NRG meeting in The
Hague on 17 September 2004. On the preceding days, a European
Conference on Strategies for a European Area of Digital Cultural
Resources will be held.
The NRG thanked the Irish Presidency for its organisation and
constructive input to the debate of this meeting and looked forward
to the International Digitisation Conference “Access all
areas: serving the user” to be held on the following day.
A special thanks was expressed to the Irish Government, the Department
of Arts, Sport and Tourism, the National Museum of Ireland and
An Chomhairle Leabharlanna/The Library Council.