Chapter 22: BRINGING EUROPE'S CULTURAL HERITAGE ONLINE: INITIATIVES AND CHALLENGES
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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. Therefore, it is not surprising that the European Commission has emphasised already in its ‘European agenda for culture in a globalizing world’, which was adopted in 2007, that ‘creative entrepreneurship and a vibrant cultural industry are a unique source of innovation for the future’, and that ‘culture is an indispensable feature to achieve the EU’s strategic objectives of prosperity, solidarity and security, while ensuring a stronger presence in the international scene’.

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