Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole reports from the 11th meeting of the European Member States Expert Group on Digitisation and Digital Preservation, which takes place twice a year in the European Parliament building in Gasperich, Luxembourg.
In recent years, my twice-yearly pilgrimage to Gasperich has been, if not a chore then, perhaps, a little predictable. The group brings together national experts from all 27 EU Member States to review and make recommendations on the European Commission's recommendations on digitisation, which the UK signed up to under Culture Secretary David Lammy in 2006 and which were updated and reinforced on the 27th October 2011. Discussions usually focus on Europeana, funding and the progress of national strategies for Digitisation (updating the UK position is easy - we don't have one).
Today, however, feels a little different. Europe is straining under the immense economic pressure of resolving the fiscal deficit in the Eurozone, and many of the countries around the table find themselves confronted with some of the most complex socio-economic issues of recent decades. And so today's meeting is less about bureaucracy (although of course being the European Commission, there is a fair share of that) and much more about solidarity, support and, yes, hope.