Minutes of the 1st  Meeting of MSEG Working Group on Digitisation Statistics

Monday, 27th June 2011, 10:30 - 17:30

EUFO 001 meeting room, Bâtiment Euroforum, 10, rue R. Stumper, Gasperich, Luxembourg

10h30 - 10h50
Welcome and Objectives of the Working Group on Digitisation Statistics
Mr Javier Hernández-Ros, Head of Unit INFSO E3 'Cultural Heritage and Technology Enhanced Learning', European Commission

Mr Hernández-Ros welcomed the participants and informed about the recent organisation changes in Directorate E of DG INFSO:

  • appointment of Mr Khalil Rouhana as new Director,
  • appointment of Mr Javier Hernández-Ros as Head of Unit E3 ' Cultural Heritage and Technology Enhanced Learning'.

Furthermore, he presented the representatives of the ENUMERATE consortium:

  • Nick Poole (CollectionsTrust, ENUMERATE network coordinator),
  • Gordon McKenna (CollectionsTrust, ENUMERATE coordinator),
  • Marco de Niet (DEN foundation, chair SIG-STATS, ENUMERATE partner),
  • Gerhard Jan Nauta (DEN foundation, ENUMERATE partner).

Mr Hernández-Ros started his presentation with the objectives of the Working Group on Digitisation Statistics by discussing the need for such statistics in the current environment.

The following points were raised:
1. where we are - the current status of the digitisation in the EU:

  • no common indication of what Cultural Heritage (CH) means in each of the Member States (e.g. books, cultural sites, films, etc.?),
  • the need to know what is the amount of cultural assets in Europe,
  • the need to know how much would the digitisation of the CH cost,
  • the recent findings of the Report of the Comité des Sages highlighting the importance of digitisation.


2. why are statistics on the digitisation needed:

  • Member States have an obligation to report to the EC on digitization in response to the Recommendation of 2006 on Digitisation, Online accessibility and digital preservation of Culture Heritage,
  • it is important to monitor the progress of the digitization over time at MS level and EU level,
  • the need to know what kind of and how much resources are required to do the digitisation.

3. what are the difficulties and barriers:

  • there are many actors involved in the process (cultural institutions, governments, EU, companies etc),
  • there are unclear responsibilities, e.g. who is responsible for drawing the national statistics?
  • the content is hosted by many different institutions thus it is difficult to gather relevant and robust data overtime,
  • there are many formats of CH objects,
  • there is a lot of material to be digitised,
  • there is concern about budget issues: source of funding (CH institutions, government programmes, private funding), amount of the resources needed.

4. what is expected from the group:

  • a common valid methodology (agreed and implemented by all MSs),
  • shared action and initiatives between MSs and EU,
  • regular data gathering exercise (e.g. on annual basis?),
  • commitment from the countries to appoint the national coordinators to supervise the surveys.

The conclusions:

  • all the actors have to be realistic about what can be achieved with the given resources,
  • the existence of the digitisation statistics would facilitate defining the relevant policies, reporting of the MS to the EU, etc.
  • in the future, such statistics could be taken over by EUROSTAT and the National Statistics Offices (not done yet as valid methodology is missing); there could be also information on the users and the re-use of the digitised resources, the benefits of the digitisation, etc.

10h50 - 11h20
Presentation by Nick Poole (Collections Trust, ENUMERATE network coordinator)

Mr Poole presented the ENUMERATE project (http://enumerate.eu/) and its precursors:


View the presentation

11h20 - 11h50
Presentation by Marco de Niet (DEN foundation, chair SIG-STATS, ENUMERATE partner)

Mr de Niet presented in detail the objectives of the ENUMERATE project, the results of the NUMERIC study and its main flaws, and finally the recommendations by the SIG-STATS.

View the presentation

11h50 - 12h30
Presentation based on contributions from participants

Mr de Niet presented the current national initiatives for monitoring the progress of digitisation on the basis of replies received from the participants and the Member States' National reports:

View the presentation

There are different approaches across the EU27. For example:

There are annual national surveys gathering information from the Cultural Heritage institutions. It would be possible to add the questions on digitisation to such national surveys but the issue is how to harmonise the ENUMERATE and national surveys. The questionnaires are prepared by statisticians. It would be useful to prepare ENUMERATE survey in the same way.

There are simple questionnaires sent on annual basis to the biggest CH institutions in order to evaluate the national strategy on digitisation and online access. These institutions are chosen by their direct involvement in the national strategy (National Heritage Portal).There is a need for a valid methodology to collect and connect the data.

There are no national initiatives as it is not seen as politically important. There is no coordination at national level.

National strategy is under preparation.

There should be a coordination structure in place in 6 months time as:

  • there are a lot of the CH objects, many of them already digitised,
  • there could be a lot of business possibilities to re-use the digitised materials,
  • there is a need/obligation to report on the use of funds for digitisation to the Structural Fund, etc.

Nick Poole: it is necessary to build a profile of each country with the help of the national coordinators (intelligence and statistical efforts of/in each country)

Javier Hernandez-Ros: there will soon be a big interest in gathering different data due to:

  • Digital Agenda,
  • open data and re-use of Culture Heritage data (e.g. Europeana),
  • review of the Public Sector Information Directive.

Presentation by Marco de Niet

Mr de Niet presented in detail the proposal for ENUMERATE core survey methodology.

View the presentation

The participants raised some issues:

Digitisation helped to fight unemployment in Finland as anti-crisis projects. The main theme is 'Culture Heritage for all'. The important issues are: to have a methodology embedded in a sustainable way; to enrich statistics with more data, additional information (e.g. cloud), to focus on the quality.

Input / Output measures should be compatible with the list of types of objects used by Europeana
It would be good to know what others are doing in this field, e.g. UNESCO.
It is important to know if the digitised objects are just for the institution or available at national / EU level (e.g. Europeana), or by Google…
As for the statistics indicators - there should be also success indicators
Questions => will Eurostat be interested in the management / coordination; to take over the data gathering exercise from ENUMERATE in the future?

Marco de Niet: Europeana uses the Numeric list of types of objects so ENUMERATE is compatible with Europeana. As for UNESCO - their activities  have not been analysed yet by the consortium, but will be done shortly .
Success indicators => M. Kaiser from the European Library has prepared the performance indicators for all the national libraries of Europe. EUROSTAT - will not take part actively until the methodology is established.

14h00 - 16h00

There were discussions in four groups on the following 4 topics:
1. Discussion on the proposed Core Survey - led by Nick Poole,
2. Discussion on the proposed Sample Methodology - led by Marco de Niet,
3. Discussion on the proposed Input/Output measures - led by Gerhard Jan Nauta,
4. How to liaise with other relevant statistical surveys and other stakeholders - led by Gordon McKenna.

The chairs rotated in order to monitor the discussion about their topic in all four groups. The summaries of the discussions are annexed to the minutes.

16h00 - 16h45
Presentation by Nick Poole, followed by plenary discussion

The role of the national coordinators is essential in order to succeed in data gathering exercise. It would be good if national coordinators are based in the ministry, statistical office, etc. He / she should be able to communicate with the CH sector.

The work of the national coordinator would consist of the following activities:

  • to give guidance to the cultural institutions regarding the surveys,
  • to manage and maintain the national website,
  • to profile the institutions,
  • to sample the institutions to participate in the surveys,
  • to be advocate of the digitisation statistics,
  • to create a community of the digitisation statistics,
  • to ensure that people will answer when the core survey is run.

In November 2011 a training will be organised for the national coordinators regarding the methodology, core survey, etc.

16h45 - 17h00


It was agreed that the following actions should be taken as soon as possible:

MSEG Working Group members:

  • to appoint the national coordinator,
  • to inform the community about ENUMERATE (write an article, blog, twitter),
  • to send the short descriptions of current national initiatives in monitoring the progress of digitisation from those member states that did not respond so far.


  • to prepare the revised draft methodology and core survey by 15th July,
  • to prepare the charter of the national coordinators by 15th July,
  • to prepare and send the information pack to national coordinators,
  • to assess how much effort (in budgetary and time-frame terms) will be needed from the national coordinators and use different scenario's for different levels of involvement,
  • to state how much effort will be needed for the translation of the documents package.

On the request of the MSEG Working Group members, it may write a statement re 'mandate for the national coordinators from EC' in order to help to appoint the national coordinators.