Elgar Commentaries series
Edited by Irini A. Stamatoudi and Paul Torremans
Chapter 16: EUROPEANA, ARROW AND ORPHAN WORKS: BRINGING EUROPE'S CULTURAL HERITAGE ONLINE
Culture lies at the heart of human development and civilisation. Culture is what makes people hope and dream, by stimulating our senses and offering new ways of looking at reality. It is what brings people together, by stirring dialogue and arousing passions, in a way that unites rather than divides. Culture should be regarded as a set of distinctive spiritual and material traits that characterize a society and social group. It embraces literature and arts as well as ways of life, value systems, traditions and beliefs. Even though the European Union (EU) is characterised by linguistic and also cultural diversity, Europeans also share a large common cultural heritage. 'Culture', as a term or concept, is recognised as very hard to define. It is a sphere of intellectual expression and comprises not only material culture, but also values, ideas and beliefs. Culture, thus, also has a non-material, intangible and communicative dimension. Culture as a root for European cultural heritage legislation and policy regarding digitisation can be broken down into art, including works of literature, music or architecture, science and education. As such, it plays an essential role in human development. Cultural heritage is a valuable asset in the knowledge-based world, an important resource for the European culture industry and a catalyst for creativity, as well as an important driver of growth and the creation of jobs. Supporting and promoting culture serves as a signal for prosperity and economic competence leading to further investments and international cooperation.
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