The European Commission has officially announced its plans to develop and build a digital library. The News.com article: Europe aims to rival Google with digital library reports:
According to an EC announcement on Friday, the aim of the project is to digitize and preserve records of Europe's heritage--including books, film fragments, photographs, manuscripts, speeches and music--and make it available online to all European citizens. To make this happen, the European Union is proposing high-level cooperation between the member states and has set a deadline of Jan. 20, 2006, for first comments on the plans.
Ah, cooperation. It's a good idea especially in the library digitization world. Of course, talk of cooperation and actual cooperation are not the same thing.
You've got to wonder if Brewster Kahle, David Mandelbrot and other members of the Open Content Alliance team are working to convince this large digital library initiative to become a member of the alliance. It would seem to make sense, especially for searchers.
Postscript: A brief rant. I completely realize (aka not naive) that Google is Google and whatever they do gets most of the press attention. The word Google gets people's attention. However, digitization programs have been going on for years, long before Google was even around. Heck, Project Gutenberg was around before Larry and Sergey were even born. Why does the press seem to believe that every other project must "rival" Google Library (I know it sells papers, gets clicks, I'm not naieve). Yes, Google Library is a massive and important undertaking but turning into a contest or war seems to make little sense. Other digitization programs (some large and some very small) working to digitize important materials are also crucial. Let the content, the quality of the digitization, the ease of access, be what really matters.