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Starting from February 2004, Minerva Project is enlarged to MINERVA Plus initiative, already approved by the European Commission in the 6FP.

Contract number: 507083
Project acronym: MinervaPLUS
Project name: Ministerial NETWORK for Valorising Activities in digitisation PLUS
Priority/Priority Component: Technology-enhanced learning and access to cultural heritage
Total cost (€): 840,000.00
Commission funding (€): 840,000.00

MinervaPLUS intends to enlarge the existing thematic network of European Ministries to discuss, correlate and harmonise activities carried out in digitisation of cultural and scientific content, for creating an agreed European common platform, promoting recommendations and guidelines about digitisation, metadata, long-term accessibility and preservation.
It starts from the need to extend the good results already achieved by the present network, and pave the
way to a full integration of new countries in the existing European mainstream. It aims to co-ordinate national programmes, and its approach is strongly based on the principle of embeddedness in national digitisation activities.

Key issues

The key objectives are to:

  • provide an organisational framework in Europe to promote the digitisation of cultural and scientific heritage in a sustainable way;
  • facilitate the adoption of the principles set up in Lund, both in EU Member States and other European countries, within the set of actions launched by the eEurope initiative, and increase and amplify the impact of eEurope in partner countries;
  • set-up and animate an international Forum where different points of view can be debated, supporting collaboration on scientific research in this field;
  • identify user needs, define training requirements and develop recommendations;
  • propose and implementthe model for a benchmarking methodology about policies for digitisation, to compare and improve current practices, promoting good practices across Europe and beyond;
  • exchange skills and good practice in the field;
  • make available test-beds, to define mechanisms for evaluating models, methodologies, techniques and approaches, to select guidelines for harmonising activities and to reach agreement among partner countries, on a common basis;
  • promote awareness, information, dissemination and training activities at national level, both in countries directly participating in the working groups to be set-up by the network and in other interested countries, together with the organisation of plenary meetings every six months;
  • identify research areas suitable for activities to be launched in the near future.

Technical approach

The technical approach followed to achieve the previous objectives includes activities aiming to:

  • animate work groups to provide the political and technical framework for improving digitisation activities of cultural and scientific contents;
  • facilitate the adoption of the Lund principles, in EU Member States, accession countries and other European countries, to amplify the impact of the eEurope initiative;
  • support and foster collaboration on scientific research, encouraging joint agendas and programmes;
  • increase the dimension, make visible, promote and exchange information about National Policy profiles concerning digitisation;
  • implement users’ needs requirements for accessibility and usability of web sites, define training schemes and develop recommendations;
  • make available test-beds, defining mechanisms for evaluating models, methodologies, techniques and approaches;
  • implement the existing benchmarking framework on digitisation, able to compare and improve quality of national approaches and promote good practice across Europe and beyond;
  • promote concertation events open to both EU and other national projects, to create clusters of projects;
  • promote dissemination and training activities at national level, acquisition of new skills and access to existing resources.

Expected achievements/impact

The project has the overall objective to promote the creation of National Committees to discuss, correlate and harmonise activities carried out in the sector, establishing contacts with international organisations, associations, other networks, international and national projects involved in the sector of digitisation of cultural and scientific content. For its nature, it will not carry out scientific research, but will rely on existing actions to identify and integrate good practices in a pan-European framework.

A first effect of this proposed coordination is an integration of fragmented and isolated research groups towards agreement on a common, even if minimum, set of recommendations and a technical platform across sectors all over Europe.

The project is based on the principle of embeddedness in national digitisation activities and this can only be guaranteed by the direct involvement of the national Ministries of Culture who participate in Minerva and MinervaPLUS. The high added value of the project consists of its effectiveness to developagreed evolutionary strategies for the digitisation of cultural contents, based on commonly shared objectives (i.e. the implementation of the Lund principles) and then to direct and focus the national investments towards these objectives.

The project includes detection of users needs and regular collection of feed-back through Users Groups, but keeps a top-down approach in its close connection with national cultural and socio-economic policies: it is by definition open to the collaboration and integration with other users-led “bottom-up” networks, seeking support from public authorities and integration with national policies.

It is clear that apart the contribution requested to the European Commission for animating the group, there is a large amount of efforts– estimated in several person years – which will be mobilised by the partner Ministries, and by other Governments which will be involved in the discussion, therefore providing a clear example of real European added value, where the common activities supported by the European Commission are finalised to develop an integrated harmonised approach to the digitisation policy.


Copyright Minerva Project 2004/05, last revision 2004-12-21, edited by Minerva Editorial Board.
URL: www.minervaeurope.org/whatis/minervaplus.htm
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