Prof. Monika Hagedorn-Saupe
Michael-culture.org: Germany's Participation in a Common Initiative for Europe's Digital Heritage
MICHAEL, the "Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in
Europe", is a cultural portal for digital collections in Europe. Funded by the
European Union, the goal of this project is to enable centralised access to digitised
cultural assets from across Europe. The project involves making accessible and linking
together digital collections from many European archives, libraries and museums. The
project is bringing together digital collections from the visual arts, the natural
sciences (from the distant past to the present, from different regions and cultures) as
well as digital sources on the general, technical and social history of European peoples.
France, Italy and Great Britain initiated this project. Starting in 2006, Germany and other European nations began work on their respective parts of the MICHAEL portal (www.michael-portal.de).
Seven institutions are involved in establishing the German component of the MICHAEL portal. The German institutions engaged in making accessible and linking together digital collections of culture are: the Bavarian State Library, the German Federal Archives, the German National Library, the German Museum, the Research Institute at Senckenberg, the Provincial Archives of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
Bit by bit, the individual national portals will merge in a common European portal. In December 2006, the first step, the integration of the French, Italian and British portals, was accomplished. Starting in 2007 additional partners will be integrating their national portals as well. The net result of these efforts will be centralised access - access available from anywhere in the world - to Europe's cultural heritage.