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Information & Communication Technologies

Information and Communication Technologies

ICT Challenge 4: Digital libraries and content

Digital libraries and content


Note: This is a short overview of targeted activities and is not legally binding. Fuller details on targeted activities are provided in multi-annual ICT work programmes which can be downloaded from this site's Library section

Why is it important?

In today's society, individuals and organisations are, on one hand, confronted with an ever growing load of information and content and, on the other, with increasing demands for knowledge and skills. To cope with this, we need to link content, knowledge and learning, making content and knowledge more accessible, interactive and usable over time by humans and machines alike.

Europe, with its unique cultural heritage and creative potential, is well placed to exploit this paradigm shift, becoming a key actor in the knowledge economy.

Where do we stand?

While content and knowledge are abundant, they do not exist in a state that can be efficiently exploited.

In general, content is not personalised, and interactivity does not exploit fully its richness. Tools for the capturing and editing needs of the creative professional are still in their infancy.

Much of the digital content still requires human intelligence to interpret and act upon it. Moreover, an increasing volume of digital content is highly interactive and is unlikely to remain accessible and understandable over time.

In terms of learning, we are still in the early phases of shifting from technology primarily focused on the delivery of content to solutions that embed learning into our daily environments, that understand the individual learner/teacher and that adapt to his/her needs.

Where do we want to go?

Digital library services, anchored in the digital content infrastructure, enabling us to create, store, personalise and use over time cultural and scientific content.

The ability to access, use and understand today's digital information in the future, through systems and tools for digital preservation.

Creation and management of intelligent content needs to be more effective. We must be able to manage the workflow from the acquisition of reference materials to the versioning, packaging and repurposing of products, as well as its distribution, presentation and consumption.

New learning environments that are responsive, personalised and intuitively adapt to the learner's and teacher's needs and that can motivate, engage and support development of skills and competences.

What impact do we want to have?

In 2007-08 10% of funding available for the ICT theme will be devoted to this area.

Advances expected include:

  • New digital library services allowing content and knowledge to be produced, stored, managed, personalised, transmitted, preserved and used reliably, efficiently and at low cost;
  • Digital preservation services addressing the needs of memory institutions and more generally of businesses, public bodies, government services who have responsibilities for keeping digital records accessible.
  • New management and production tools making digital resources easier and more cost- effective to create and reuse;
  • More creative approaches to content and knowledge, enabling creators to design more participative and communicative media and increase the productivity of publishers;
  • Enabling the mass-individualization of learning experiences, through systems allowing faster acquisition of competences and skills, increased knowledge worker productivity, and more efficient organisational learning processes.


Compared to the approach of IST in FP6, the challenge groups relevant parts of previously separate objectives: semantic-based knowledge and content systems, technology-enhanced learning, and access to and preservation of cultural and scientific resources.