The European Union's Lisbon Agenda and subsequent versions of its eEurope Action Plan set out the ambition for Europe to have ‘the most competitive economy in the world’ by the year 2010, by moving rapidly toward an economy based on knowledge and a digitally inclusive society. In accordance with this, the Lund Principles for e-Europe digitization of cultural heritage (European Commission, 2004), agreed in April 2001, set out an approach ranging from bottom-up involvement of the cultural institutions themselves, for example in determining cases of best practice, to top-down initiatives on policies. During 2005, in response to a high-level initiative from European heads of government, plans were announced for the creation of a European Digital Library (European Commission, 2005).
Throughout this period and before it, the European Union's Information Society Technologies (IST) research and development programme acted as an important focus for policy co-ordination and monitoring activities in the cultural heritage area. For example, the MINERVA Network of ministerial agencies, funded under this programme, developed a benchmarking framework (Minerva, 2003) as a tool for co-ordinating and harmonizing national activities, as well as for developing measures to show progress, improvement and good practice.
A key aspect of this question is the contribution of local cultural institutions (libraries, museums and archives), and a sequence of actions has been funded to co-ordinate their activity, each building on the last, over several years and covering three IST research framework programmes (FP):
Perhaps the key policy outcome of PULMAN was its Manifesto and linked Oeiras Action Plan, issued as a result of its policy conference held in Portugal in March 2003 (see Appendix, page 166). The monitoring of progress against this action plan is the subject of this paper.
The CALIMERA (Cultural Applications: Local Institutions Mediating Electronic Resource Access) Action, which concluded its work in May 2005, brought together a consortium representing more than 40 countries. Partners included local cultural institutions, national authorities, research centres and Eblida, the European sectoral association.