Co-ordination mechanisms for digitisation
policies and programmes:
7th Official Meeting of the National Representatives Group (NRG)
The Hauge, 17th September 2004
Summary and Objectives of the meeting
As part of the programme for the Netherlands Presidency 2004
of the European Union, the 7th meeting of the National Representatives
Group (NRG) was held on 16th (evening) and 17th September in
The Kurhaus in The Hague. On the 16th, all official NRG members
joined a Group Decision Support Session on the
future organisation of the coordination initiative. On the 17th,
the regular half yearly NRG meeting took place.
Preceding the 7th NRG meeting a two days conference "Towards
a Continuum of Digital Heritage - Strategies for a European
Area of Digital Cultural Resources" was held.
Both the NRG meeting and the conference were hosted by the
Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and supported
by the Minerva IST project.
The NRG consists of a group of national delegates (civil servants
and managers of culture ministries, other ministries, IT managers
of major national institutions and programmes), who were nominated
by their permanent representatives for the EU. The NRG meets
every six months, chaired by the current Council Presidency.
Operative tasks are supported by two projects: Minerva and MinervaPlus.
These projects are funded by the IST programme of the European
Commission. Their members — many of whom are also members
of the NRG — serve as technical experts and provide secretarial
support for the NRG and for the implementation of the selected
priorities and policies identified by the NRG.
At the forefront of the discussion during the 7th NRG meeting
were the ambitions and future challenges of digitisation of European
cultural heritage. Today, the coordination of digital heritage
is faced with new important challenges:
- to proceed by revisiting the current principles and the drafting of
a new dynamic action plan, in order to be able to tackle
new contexts and issues (e.g. copyrights, access, enrichment…);
- to strategically integrate with its economic sectors of reference (such
as culture, education, tourism, technology, research…), their policies
and programmes, their policy-drivers (institutions,
industries, users, general public, …) and their objectives in
the enlarged Europe, to effectively integrate regions with different
know-how and experience;
- to produce relevant and visible European cultural added-value.
The end of 2005 is set to be the end of the current Action Plan
for coordination of digitisation in Europe that was drawn up
under Swedish EU Presidency in 2001, and of the funding for the
Minerva and MinervaPlus IST projects.
Through the Lund Action Plan and Minerva(Plus), the Member States
showed a strong commitment to a coordinated European heritage
digitisation, after a relatively modest support by the European
Starting point for the 7th NRG meeting was
that this commitment should be further developed over the next
year in a more visible organisational entity with
a clearer range and mandate that supports coordination
actions and strategies in the near and longer future.
The NRG currently has a mixed connotation of a European network
and a forum of (semi-)public authorities. These typically represent
basic degrees of organisational mechanisms at European level,
which may evolve to more organic ones, depending on the future
commitment of the stakeholders.
The specific objectives of the meeting were
- Introduce NRG to the Culture Council Work plan 2005-2006,
including the agenda regarding the future coordination of
- Accelerate conceptualization of NRG's position
by 1) identifying and prioritising digitisation obstacles and
impediments as seen by the individual NRG members; 2) discussing
existing and possible actors and actions for the future organisation
of digitisation in Europe; 3) discussing possible EU organisational
models for the future of the coordination initiative;
- Report back to the NRG the progress made by the “Taskforce
for the future Coordination Initiative” and the presentation
of a building blocks documentwhich was prepared
by The Netherlands EU Presidency.
- Identify and prioritise emerging issues and identify concrete
results. Recommend and endorse new strategies and actions to
take these forward through NRG’s activities.
- Identify and discuss the proposals put forward by the Luxembourg and UnitedKingdomPresidencies for
the future sustainability of the coordination initiative.
NRG-progress since last meeting:
- The Netherlands Presidency initiated the
process to revisit the Lund Principles and the Action Plan,
as well as the current organisation of the co-ordination initiative.
- Building on the EU added-value position paper that was presented
in Parma by the Netherlands representative, a conference was
held in The Hague on the 15th and 16th September. Theme of
the conference was the building of a European Area
of Digital Cultural Resources. The conference addressed
the quality and organisation of such an area and the strategic
issues involved as well as current European assets and achievements,
common viewpoints, and future actions and policies. A report
of the conference including the 7th NRG meeting conclusions
will be produced and distributed to all participants and NRG
members by November 2004.
- A Building Blocks document was prepared
by the Netherlands Presidency in cooperation with the Taskforcefor
thefuture of the Coordination Initiative to
prepare discussion on the future organisation of NRG and MINERVA.
The document proved a valuable input for the meeting and will
be used as reference for future discussion.
- All official NRG members participated in a Group
Decision Support Session preceding the 7th NRG meeting.
The outcomes were presented to all NRG members at the meeting
on the 17th September. A comprehensive report will be made
available for internal NRG use.
- The Netherlands EU Presidency supported the ongoing activities
of the Firenze expert workgroup on long
term preservation. The expert workgroup, with the
support of the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico in Rome,
improved the community awareness, consensus and participation.
The Netherlands EU Presidency presented the progress of the
activities during the conference in The Hague on the 15th and
16th September. Two strategic reports were produced: a detailed position
paper draws the current worldwide scenario and future
possible strategies through identification of priorities and
recommendations at the European level. An additional questionnaire
responses summary presents a synthetic survey about
the main on-going initiatives across Europe.
- The Progress Assessment will be continued
by the Irish partner in MINERVA Plus (WP7) and will assess
the on-going work under the Netherlands Presidency and Luxembourg
Presidency.The revised report will be circulated in December
2004. The final report will be launched at the end of the Luxembourg
- The activities of MINERVA in 2003-2004 were
printed and distributed to NRG.
- The 2nd NRG Report was 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 Netherlands Presidency.
- The Netherlands Presidency Agenda for Culture includes
a proposal for a Workplan for Culture for
2005-2006. The workplan aims at an operational follow up in
terms of addressees, tasks and timeframe. The agenda consists
of 5 priorities to be implemented in 2005 and 2006. One of
the priorities is the future coordination of digitisation.
The proposed action calls for the proceeding with coordination
through a dynamic action plan after 2005. Also it calls for
a clear organisation of the actions. The European Commission
is to strategically integrate digitisation with different sectors
(culture, education, technology, research).
- Top-level generic domains make it possible
to assess the origin, quality, and trustworthiness of internet
resources. Ambiguity of top level domain names can not be solved
by current instruments, such as resource location tools (e.g.
Google). Top level domains like '.museum'
have the opportunity to create an area / domain of guaranteed
trustworthy digital sources. The NRG can contribute to the
adoption of the '.dot.museum' TLD through its dissemination
- The Florence agenda expert workgroup produced
two reports on long term preservation that were presented at
the conference on 15 and 16 September. Besides its research
programmes possibilities, the European Commission takes no
additional actions for digital preservation. Part of the work
roll-out in research is stimulating meetings and networking
sessions. EC anticipates two areas: coordination actions and
testbeds. There may be some future additional horizontal possiblities:
econtent+, public domain, etc.
- Next Presidencies: the Luxembourg EU Presidency will hold a
conference and NRG-meeting in June 2005 (tentative). Special focus will be on
digital preservation (review progress of Florence agenda). The United
Kingdom EU Presidency will continue actions regarding the NRG framework.
It will support the revision of the current Lund Action Plan. Focus will be a.o.
on access and users (eLearning and eInclusion ) and building on current practical
- NRG appreciates the work done by MINERVA in the past months,
which is described in the appendix (MINERVA Progress).
- A draft action plan for future coordination actions
(2006 et sq) will be prepared by the Netherlands,
Luxembourg and United Kingdom EU presidencies in close
cooperation with the Taskforce, before the next NRG meeting
in June 2005. The final action plan is to be decreed by
a Council resolution under the UK EU Presidency.
- Parallel, a proposal for nomination (or reconfirmation
of that nomination) of the NRG members with new Terms of
Reference, to reinforce the mandate of the future
NRG, will be prepared before and discussed in the
next NRG meeting.
Parallel, a proposal for nomination (or reconfirmation of that nomination) of
the NRG members with new Terms of Reference, to reinforce the mandate
of the future NRG, will be prepared before and discussed in the next
- If advisable, the NRG will be consulted on both items
in an interim meeting early 2005 to be organised
by the Luxembourg EU Presidency.
- The digitisation-specific workprogramme/Lund-update together
with the renewed NRG structure will be put as a request
through the Council by December 2005, to reinforce the mandate
of NRG in its new context and to kick off the new action
Immediate actions (September– December 2004)
- Cultural Heritage Convention CoE: NRG is
invited by the UK-representative to submit proposals and amendments
of articles 2 and 14 of the Convention to the UK-representative,
to be delivered to the CoE.
- NRG status report: NRG will receive instructions
by October 2004 for their contributions to the NRG status report
- Council Work Plan for Culture 2006-2007:NRG
is advised to contact their permanent representative in CAC
to be informed about and support the digitisation actions in
the draft Work Plan for Culture 2005-2006.
APPENDIX MINERVA progress since the 6th NRG meeting in June 2004
- MINERVA is now establishing contacts with South Eastern
European countries, joining EU from 2007 onwards and already
involved in several international initiatives and EUprogrammes.
Among them, the South Eastern European Digitisation Initiative
is worth to be mentioned. The Network for digitisation of scientific
and cultural heritage has been established, under the Lund
Principles, and officially launched on the occasion of the
International Conference “New technologies and standards:
digitisation of cultural heritage” (Belgrade, 3-5 June),
where a representative of MINERVA participated.
- An important cooperation is fostered with UNESCO Information
for all programme.
- MINERVA participated to the last conferences in Petropavlovsk
Kamchatsky (September 2003), in San Petersburg (June 2004)
and further interventions are expected during the coming months.
- Through the participation to international conferences and
seminars, a wide dissemination of the NRG/MINERVA recommendations
and guidelines is taking place. Just since the last Dublin
meeting, during the summer period, MINERVA participated to
the following events: ICA Conference (Vienna), International
Seminar on Digitisation of cultural and scientific heritage
(Bansko, Bugaria), ICHIM 2004 (Berlin).
- During the next months of 2004, MINERVA will participate
to the following events:
- 28th September 2004, Salzburg (Austria): eCulture Symposium
- 11th -13th October 2004, Jerusalem (Israel): EVA Jerusalem
- 27th October 2004, Rome (Italy): Bibliocom 2004
- 12th November 2004, Berlin (Germany): EVA Berlin
- 29th -30th December 2004, Moscow (Russia): EVA Moscow
- MINERVA booklet: Digitising content together: Ministerial
Network for Valorising Activities in Digitisation Activities
2003 - 2004
- Online publications:
- Charter of Parma in German and Slovak
- Good practices handbook translations in French, German, Italian, Portuguese
- 10 Quality Principles translations in Estonian, Spanish, French, Greek,
Hungarian, Italian, Slovene, English
- Quality Principles Handbook: guidance on applying the 10 Quality Principles
- Technical Guidelines for Digital Cultural Content Creation Programmes
in English, French and Italian
- MICHAEL: Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Europe
- EURIDICE: EuropeanRecommended materials for Distance Learning Courses
for Educator (under negotiation)
- WP3 – Inventories, discovery of digitised content,
multilingualism issues Survey about Multilingual websites and
thesauri Coordinated by Hungary
236 answers from 21 countries + 4 offline summaries
Preliminary results available on the Internet at: http://www.mek.oszk.hu/minerva/survey
Next steps: complete the survey, analyse the results, identify
best practices, disseminate the findings
- Mapping multilingual access to cultural content
- Identifying multilingual thesauri
- Sharing best practices
- WP4 – Interoperability and Service Provision Inspection of the
European legislation regarding Intellectual Property Rights
Coordinated by Greece First Draft Report on IPR European Legislation
Preliminary results available online, on the Minerva website (www.minervaeurope.org)
as wp4ipr040806.pdf Next steps: Study of the available technological
solutions and research for the establishment of an appropriate
metadata set concerning IPR
- European Legislation, Background, Conventions, Organizations
- Description of the EU Copyright Directive
- National implementation of the Directive’s suggestions
- WP5 – Identification of user needs, content and quality framework
for common access points & Small cultural institutions Coordinated
by Belgium and Germany
The Handbook is available online, on the Minerva website (www.minervaeurope.org)
Next steps: publication of the Handbook, translations and
dissemination of the Minerva Quality Principles for cultural websites
- Public launch of the MINERVA Quality Principles Handbook at ICHIM
- Focused discussion with about 30 Participants from: Museums, Archives,
Universities, Research centres, Associations
- WP6 – Identification of good practices and competence
centres Study about Cost Reduction Coordinated by Israel
Survey results available online, on the Minerva website
(www.minervaeurope.org) Next steps: survey of projects,
workshop in Sweden in January 2005.
- Literary survey completed in August 2004.