High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries

Sub-group on Public Private Partnerships





Final Report on Public Private Partnerships for the Digitisation and Online Accessibility of Europe's Cultural Heritage





May 2008





Public private partnerships have an important role in helping achieve the European Commissions strategy  for  digitisation, online  accessibility  and  digital  preservation of  Europes  collective memory.

Whilst libraries, archives, museums and galleries have preserved this collective memory and have experience of resource discovery and user requirements, private partners can bring to the table funding, technology, software and expertise required for large-scale digitisation. By working together public access can be enhanced.


For public and private partners to make the most of these partnerships, case studies suggest that cultural institutions and private partners should take the following into account:

-     the vision, mission and strategic objectives of all partners and the benefits for the citizen to be achieved through the project

-     the need for a formal, transparent, accountable partnership, which does not establish exclusive agreements that are not time-limited

-     the need to manage the partnership through a formal governance structure

-     the need of the partnership to operate within the framework of applicable copyright and intellectual property law, and the need for the ownership of such rights after digitisation to be clearly stated

-     the sustainability of the business model for the long-term

A check-list is provided in Annex 3.


The Sub-group also made the following recommendations:


Financial environment:

The  sub-group  recommends  that  legislation  aimed  at  supporting  finance  of  cultural heritage through the provision of fiscal benefits to private partners is more extensively

applied to digitisation projects.


The  sub-group recommends that  the  guiding  principle  is  that  partnership should  be

established within the framework of applicable copyright law.”

Public domain:

“The sub-group recommends that public domain content in the analogue world should remain in the public domain in the digital environment. If restrictions to user’s access and use are necessary in order to make the digital content available at all, these restrictions should only apply for a time-limited period.”


“The sub-group recommends that exclusive arrangements for digitising and distributing the digital assets of cultural institutions are to be avoided.”


“The sub-group recommends that cultural institutions should aim to abide by the principles of the European Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI)” Governance:

“The sub-group recommends that Public Private Partnerships have formal governance arrangements enshrined in a formal contract between parties.”











































The European Commission has made digital libraries a key aspect of i2010. In its Communication “i2010: digital libraries” of 30 September 2005, it set out its strategy for digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation of Europe's collective memory. Within this context, Commissioner Viviane Reding said “Member States must work to support innovation, making our vision of a knowledge society a reality … a strong partnership is needed between all the players involved.[1]


The third meeting of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Digital Libraries, held in Brussels 18 April 2007, opened the debate on how best to promote and to make use of public-private  co-operation  and  private  sponsorship  for  the  digitisation  of  Europe's cultural heritage.


The Commissioner pointed to the necessary presence of both public and private players in the digital libraries initiative to solve problems and deliver high quality services. The HLEG was asked to help by “identifying the opportunities and conditions under which PPPs become success stories for all involved parties: private actors, public authorities and citizens.” The Commissioner pointed out that “Public-private partnerships for the digitisation of content should be encouraged to make information available online, as well as the private sponsoring of digitisation projects.”


At the end of the meeting, the HLEG took the decision to appoint some members to work together as the Sub-group on Public Private Partnerships (“the sub-group”), to analyse and discuss issues relating to the use of public-private partnerships, including success factors, choice of partners, business models, IPR and exclusivity issues. The new sub- group was asked to report its findings to the plenary session of the HLEG in autumn

2007. Ms Brindley was appointed as Chair of the sub-group. The members of the sub- group are listed at Annex 1.


The first meeting of the sub-group took place on 11th  July 2007 in London, and further meetings were held on 24th  October 2007 and 14th  February 2008. A draft report was presented at the HLEG plenary session in November 2007. This report presents the sub- group’s findings in full and should be read in conjunction with the case studies in Annex





The public-private partnerships (PPPs) under discussion in this report have a wide definition and are not limited to a specific definition in law. By PPPs we mean any partnership between a private-sector corporation and a public-sector body, through which the parties contribute different assets to a project and achieve complementary objectives.


Some partnerships may involve organisations in the educational sector, such as higher education institutions. These may be public or private, but for the purposes of this report they are assumed to be in the public sector. However, even if such institutions are private, they tend to act in the public interest. It is for individual institutions to apply the recommendations in this report as best fits their own circumstances.


This report is intended for use primarily by libraries, archives and museums and private- sector companies considering a partnership with one of these public-sector institutions. It should be noted that public-sector partners may have specific responsibilities, as follows:


    They often have legal deposit responsibilities, which means they are mandated by their government to collect the creative output of the country (if a library, then the published output; if a documentary archive, then the documentary output of public institutions; if a broadcast archive the radio, television and film output, and so on).

    Their remit is to provide maximum access to their specific core audience; their content represents knowledge that is of value to the nation and should be made available to citizens.

    They may also have to store and preserve content, to ensure access by future generations. The responsibility for preservation extends to ensuring all the necessary actions are taken to ensure the object’s permanence.

     They work for the long term. There is no fixed time-span for preservation; they must take all the necessary actions in order to impede physical degradation or loss of information.

     Very often, they do not own intellectual property rights in the underlying works; they have a responsibility to respect the intellectual property of rights holders; rights management issues are important and complex.

     Because of their public funding, they may be limited by government or European Union rules in commercialising their activities or the level at which they can be charged for. Priced business models therefore may be difficult to develop.


The individual responsibilities of the public-sector player depend on their activities and jurisdiction.






At its first meeting, the PPP sub-group agreed that the scope of its work should be to:


     Explain how PPPs can be used to digitise content and ensure that it is widely accessible and exploited;

    Identify elements of a public-private partnership that make it successful for all parties involved;

     Produce guidelines on terms of public-private contracts including exclusivity, business models, IPR ownership, termination clauses, etc;

     Highlight case studies of good practice and experience - both from member states, public institutions and the private sector.


The sub-group also agreed that the report should cover:

    Examples in specific media sectors based on case studies from libraries, archives, museums and audio-visual archives;

    Protection of public domain content, including both public ownership, public access and the preservation benefits of digitization;

    The balance between the interests of content creators, publishers, users, the remit of public-sector institutions and the commercial considerations of private-sector companies;

    Long term sustainability and timeframe considerations.


The report is not intended to be prescriptive, but it provides as a set of guidelines and identifies issues, to allow public and private players in Member States to draw their own conclusions as to whether public-private partnerships would benefit them.[2] The Google representative was of the view that finding the optimal way to encourage and foster participation by governmemts, rightsholders, libraries and private companies alike was

essential for securing maximum benefits for European users and citizens. In this context, he welcomed the recommendations from the sub-group but was not in a position to fully endorse all the analysis supporting them.


The sub-group has based its findings on a number of case studies prepared by the participating organisations; the case studies are discussed in section 5 and throughout the report.


The sub-group agreed to exclude from its scope:

     A detailed discussion of the technology issues, because while they are important, they depend  on  the  specifics  of  the  project.  This  report  intends  to  provide  practical guidance in initiating and managing partnerships, rather than the theory and practice of solving technological problems;

     A detailed consideration of the legal issues, as these depend heavily upon statute and case law in the country in question, which may vary widely between Member States;

     A detailed examination of the copyright issues, as these are dealt with by the HLEG Copyright sub-group.




The work of the sub-group has taken place in consultation with key stakeholders. Feedback from these stakeholders has been incorporated into the relevant sections of the report and is detailed in full at Annex 4. The sub-group would like to thank these stakeholders for their contributions.




The sub-group was asked to consider and highlight examples of public-private partnerships and good practice in libraries, museums and archives, and hence this report is based on evidence from a number of case studies provided by the sub-group participants. The case studies are appended to the report in full at Annex 2. In many cases the projects under consideration are in their early stages and therefore the case studies should not be interpreted as an up-to-date state of play of these projects. New case studies and updates of the annexed case studies will be posted on the Digital Libraries' initiative website after the finalisation of this report.


The following paragraphs summarise the case studies in terms of:


     A high-level introduction to the project


     A brief description of the partners and their contributions


     The access model provided for the user. Full details are provided in Annex 2.

5.1 Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (Cervantes Virtual Library)


This partnership was established in 1999 to deliver a virtual library of Hispanic literature, science and culture, with the aim of creating a tool to support the expansion of Spanish and Latin American culture across the world. There are nine public sector partners including the Universidad de Alicante, the Ministerio de Cultura, the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, the Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, Secretaría de Estado de Cooperación Internacional, Generalitat Valenciana, Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas, Real Academia Española and the Instituto Cervantes. There are

8 private sector partners, including Banco Santander, a major Spanish retail and commercial bank; Telefónica, the telecoms provider; Grupo PRISA, the media company; Repsol YPF, the oil company; the Fundación Marcelino Botín and Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, both cultural and educational foundations; Federación de Gremios de Editores de España, the publishing association; and Universia, an internet portal for universities. Each of the partners has specific responsibilities, including provision of funding, content, technical expertise, access to audiences, etc. The content is rights- cleared and freely available to the user. This case study is an example of the creation of a free-to-access digital library for rights-cleared content, with wide participation and co- operation from a large number of private and public sector players. See Annex 2.1 for further details.



5.2 Bibliothèque nationale de France and Syndicat National de l’Edition (SNE), France (BnF and French Publishers) – An experiment within Gallica 2


This partnership is the evolution of a joint BnF-SNE working group on possible business models for including in-copyright content and public domain content within a common search portal. The partnership is between the BnF, publishers who are members of the Syndicat National de l’Edition (SNE), (such as Hachette, Gallimard, Editis, La Découverte, etc), and e-retailers chosen by the publishers (such as Numilog and Cairn). The BnF has included, in its Gallica 2 digital library, an experimental platform including both in-copyright and public domain material in a common index, and will work with the publishers and aggregators to agree an homogeneous price structure for accessing e- books online. The publishers will digitise their own content and clear the necessary rights with  the  authors.  The  partnership  is  still  under  development  and  the  experimental platform, included within Gallica 2, was launched in March 2008 at the Salon du Livre, Paris.


This case study is an example of an e-books model for both in-copyright and out-of- copyright content. See Annex 2.2 for further details.


5. 3 British Library and Cengage Gale


The partnership established between the British Library and Cengage Gale needed to provide  a  long-term  web-based  platform  for  the  delivery  of  digitised  historical newspapers into the core customer groups served by the British Library.


The British Library contributed curatorial expertise, project management, digitised content, and additional editorial material such as essays, as well as collaboration in the development  of  the  web  service.  Cengage  Gale  provided  the  web-based  database platform, the sales force, technical expertise, customer support and editorial development. A significant part of the digitisation was funded by JISC in the UK and the National Science Foundation in the US. The initial launch to UK Higher Education took place in October 2007; access by this audience is free. The public site will be launched in summer

2008 and will involve some level of pay-per-view access, of which the details are yet to be decided.


This case study provides an example of free-to-access and priced business models via the same platform, to ensure sustainability for further digitisation. See Annex 2.3 for further details.


5.4 Google and the University of Michigan (Google – Michigan project)


This partnership was established in 2004 to digitise certain collections in the University of Michigan’s library of 7 million bound copies. The University wanted to make the library’s resources more widely available for education and research, including for future generations. Google’s contribution is to digitise the works from the University of Michigan’s  collections,  to  include  in  its  Google  Book  Search  service,  making  them available  for  discovery  and  research.  The  University  of  Michigan  library  receives  a digital copy of the digitised works to use for its own purposes. Both parties worked together to identify the content to be digitised, which includes both in-copyright and public-domain  content.  This  partnership  is  ongoing.  Search  is  possible  through  the Google search engine and the University of Michigan library catalogue. Access to the full text is available to the user for free through Google Book Search for public-domain content;  access  to  two  or  three  short  excerpts  where  the  words  searched  appear  is available free for in-copyright content as well as where to find it in a library, or where it can be purchased. The partnership is intended to favour user access to both in-copyright and out-of-copyright books.


In parallel, Google is developing a number of partnerships with publishers willing to make their books searchable and accessible through Google Book Search.


This case study is an example of a mass-digitisation project for in-copyright and out-of- copyright books. There are divergences of opinion between the members of the sub- group as to whether making a digital copy of the work and providing access to an excerpt of  the  digital  copy  for  in-copyright  material  infringes  the  publisher’s  or  author’s copyright. This specific part of the Google Book Search programme is the subject of on- going litigation in the USA and France.


See Annex 2.4 for further details.


5.5 Institut National de lAudiovisuel, France (INA)


INA is one of the world’s largest audio-visual archives. The organisation collects, safeguards, digitises, restores and distributes French television and radio archives, with holdings of over 3 million hours of content, and is the legal deposit repository for French broadcast material. In 2000, INA launched a major digitisation and preservation project for its archives, which involved transferring the original analogue contents to digital media, developing a search system, digitising the metadata (such as content creators and production rights) to allow commercial exploitation, and developing a commercial sales and rights management team.   A full commercial service to the professional broadcast sector has been available since 2003 which, through a series of partnerships, has evolved to broking and commercial distribution on behalf of external content holders.


This case study provides an example of a priced business-to-business model for archives. See Annex 2.5 for further details.


5.6 Library & Archives Canada, Open Text Corporation and the University of

Waterloo (The Canada Project)


The Canada Project is in its early stages and the details of the project are under negotiation. However, the principles of the project are clear. The project aims to digitise Canada’s entire extensive published and scientific heritage, including books published in or         about            Canada,                  magazines,          journals,       pamphlets,           maps,            television  and               radio programmes, films, music, government publications and content published by universities such as theses. For archival holdings, the project aims to at least digitise the catalogues and other discovery aids, and create an on-demand digitisation service. There are three founding partners – Library and Archives Canada (the country’s national library and archives); Open Text Corporation (a commercial provider of electronic content management systems) and the University of Waterloo (one of Canada’s leading universities). Discussions regarding participation are ongoing with a number of other public and private sector institutions.


This case study provides an example of a large-scale partnership involving many public and private stakeholders to digitise, provide access to, and preserve, a major part of a country’s heritage. See Annex 2.6 for further details.




5.7 Open Content Alliance


The Open Content Alliance was established in 2005 and brings together more than 50 partners of three types:


     Libraries, archives and other cultural institutions willing to make their collections freely available over the internet

     Search engines willing to promote open search and who wish to improve the user experience

     Open repositories to facilitate sharing and replication of content.


Content owners contribute their collections and part-fund the digitisation; search engines contribute their indexing technology and some funding; Internet Archive and other open digital  repositories  provide  their  infrastructure  for  storage,  access  and  processing  of digital content. Public access to public domain content is free; solutions are under consideration for sustainable business models for in-copyright content. 200,000 books had been digitised as at October 2007.


This case study provides an example of an open-standard digitisation project for in- copyright  and  out-of-copyright  content,  primarily  books.  See  Annex  2.7  for  further details.


5.8 The National Archives (TNA) – Find My Past Limited partnership for

Outbound Passenger Lists (Licensed Internet Associateship)


This partnership has made possible free public access to Crown copyright archival materials at the TNA, London and charged access to the lists available on the private partner Find My Past Limited’s micro-site. Royalty payments are received by the TNA calculated on individual transcript and image downloads.


TNA would not be able to digitise these materials without this partnership. It uses an existing model, Licensed Internet Associateship, to specify terms and conditions. As there are other LIA partnerships involving the digitisation of name-rich genealogical materials it is important to specify a similar user experience for all these partnerships.


This case study shows how royalty payments from a charged service can be earned by the public partner this revenue is ploughed back into other digitisation projects. See Annex

2.8 for further details.


5.9 Bibliothèque nationale de France – France Telecom


This partnership will allow the partners to explore ‘geolocalization’, the identification of place names in a full-text context to be combined with geographic co-ordinates. Other research and development work is under discussion.


It will allow the BnF to provide innovative search modes for their online services. For France Telecom the large digital collection of BnF offers a testbed for new services to their customers.

See Annex 2.9 for further details.








The  primary  objective  of  public-private  partnerships  for  the  public  institution  is access to funding to digitise their collections. In all of the case studies considered, private sector funding which would not be possible from the cultural institution alone is a critical component.


However, private sector partners play a much wider role in partnerships than simply providing funding for digitisation. They also provide access to technology for digitisation, such as scanning systems, optical character recognition technology, software to “clean” digitised images and resource discovery platforms technological expertise,  which  may  not  be  the  core  competence  of  cultural  institutions.  For example, in the Canada Project, the Open Text Corporation will provide software and technical support free of charge. Cengage Gale provides the British Library with a resource discovery solution which the British Library would not have been able to develop on its own, at least without significant investment. The technology solutions employed by partners in our case studies include scanning, optical character recognition  (required  to  convert  images  to  text),  access  platforms,  search  and retrieval, rights control and content management.


Providing enhanced access to resources is also important for the public sector. Digitisation  has  become  a  necessity  for  libraries,  as  younger  users  are  very comfortable with digital resources and tend to make more use of digital material, although evidence points to growing familiarity with digital material across all age groups. Digitisation is therefore emerging as a key enabler of wider access in cultural institutions, particularly libraries and archives, and provides a much richer experience for the user, particularly in search and delivery. In this context the private sector has a crucial role to play in providing its expertise and experience in addressing new users’ needs and expectations.


For public partners, digitisation may also have the objective of providing important preservation benefits; particularly for sound and broadcast archives where digital is an accepted preservation medium.


Other significant benefits include access to private sector competencies such as product development, sales and marketing; enhancing methods and the availability of content for scholarly research; engaging new audiences, particularly young people; and promoting knowledge transfer across disciplines and sectors. Private partners may also provide weight to lobbying efforts to increase government funding.




The objectives for private partners are much more varied and depend on the specific project and partner, but they fall broadly into two groups: commercial objectives; or demonstrating corporate social responsibility.


Commercial   objectives   include   access   to   new   markets   or   customer   groups, association with strong public brands, and access to out-of-copyright content, (some of which may be rare or unique), all of which may be monetised through commercial revenue streams. For example, BnF and the French publishers, aggregators and online book retailers aim to create a common search portal that will provide free access to public domain content and priced access to in-copyright material, mainly books. The publishers and book retailers aim to increase their exposure to the potential market, and therefore grow their revenues by offering their content online.


The commercial objectives may benefit the public sector partner financially through direct fees from the user of the service, or through royalties or revenue share agreements. Examples are INA, which receives 40% of its total income from commercial activities which in turn fund further digitisation projects to increase access,  and  the  British  Library,  which  will  receive  a  royalty  from  commercial revenues earned by Gale through its partnership to digitise historical newspapers.


Demonstrating corporate social responsibility and benefits for the “greater good” are also key outcomes for many private companies. For example, the Cervantes Virtual Library has two key private sector partners which have charitable foundations. The Fundacion Telefónica “carries out important work in the field of art and culture. Within this framework, all of the projects promoted by the Foundation are designed with  educational  and  learning  objectives[3].  Banco  Santander,  through  Santander Universities, has established a unique co-operation model with universities in Spain, Portugal   and   Latin   America,   providing   stable   and   growing   support   to   985 universities. “Santander Universities also supports and develops other large and international projects arising from its work with universities over the years like the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library”.[4]


Private sector partners in the Cervantes Virtual Library can deduct their charitable contributions against profits to reduce their corporation tax liability, as established by Spanish taxation laws.


Other EU countries, such as France and Italy, have also developed legislation aimed at supporting finance of cultural heritage through the provision of fiscal benefits to private partners. The sub-group recommends that this type of existing provision is more extensively applied to digitisation projects.


A distinction is often operated between the concept of donation (the private partner provides support without receiving any direct benefit) and the case of sponsorship (where the private partner receives a benefit in terms of branding/ advertising). Fiscal benefits for enterprises are normally higher in the case of donations, in order to increase the attractiveness of such schemes.




The primary benefit for citizens is increased, generally free online access to an unrivalled wealth of digital resources that previously may not even have been accessible in physical form, or only by physically visiting a cultural institution or local book store. Digitisation of these resources democratises knowledge and unlocks the heritage of great cultural institutions for everyone to enjoy and benefit from. Blind and partially-sighted and other print-disabled citizens can benefit from increased and better access to text when it is digitised as text. New creative endeavours can be inspired or result from access to digitised cultural heritage materials, whilst learning and tourism can also benefit.


Some public-private partnerships have ambitious goals for citizens; for example the Canada project aims to digitise all of Canada’s published scientific and cultural heritage, across a wide range of formats. The project’s guiding principles state that the Canada Project shall “provide maximum public access within a framework of respect for copyright and that it will “reflect Canada’s bilingual and multicultural reality”.


Similarly, the Open Content Alliance was launched in 2005 with the goal of encouraging the greatest possible access to and re-use of collections, while respecting the rights of content owners. With more than 50 participating institutions, it currently holds more than 200,000 books from the public domain that can be read online or

downloaded. They also are available to any search engine for indexing and therefore can benefit all citizens regardless of the tool they use to find content online.


The Google-University of Michigan partnership is part of the Google Book Search programme which has the aim of “indexing the world’s books and making them searchable and discoverable”. As stated in the co-operative agreement signed between the parties, it has the strategic objective of “providing world-wide access to information; the public good of the diffusion of knowledge; and (to a lesser extent) the preservation of books”.




The main benefit for rights holders is to increase significantly the visibility of their work and potentially the revenue that they can expect from it. This implies that users make some payment to access the works. Rightsholders may not be explicit partners in a PPP, although as content owners their co-operation is required.


This larger visibility and discoverability can be particularly important for works with a smaller target audience, and therefore less traditional exposure. Works which target niche audiences can benefit from the new discovery possibilities that digitisation and indexing offer; this is one of the key economic benefits of the internet. This ability to discover niche works can be hampered by exclusivity on accessing or indexing the digitised copy (see section 10.3 below).


For example, the partnership between the BnF and French publishers is intended to extend the traditional market for books to new audiences and therefore increase the market opportunity for publishers and authors.


There are significant differences of opinion between members of the sub-group as to whether the Google-University of Michigan partnership provides benefits for rights- holders. In the case study in Annex 2.4, Google states “By making books more discoverable, Google is enhancing the ability of authors and publishers to sell books to an audience beyond the traditional book market”. This view is contested by the Federation of European Publishers, which believes that part of the Google Book Search programme, consisting of scanning in-copyright books of certain US universities, infringes the rights of publishers by not seeking prior permission to digitise and provide online access to excerpts of in-copyright works. This specific part of the Google Book Search programme is the subject of on-going litigation in the US and France.




Each case study demonstrates that digitisation projects can bring significant additional benefits to the user compared to access to analogue content only. These might include enhancement of the user experience through advanced search capabilities, especially if the content has been processed using optical character recognition software, allowing full-text search by name, date, keyword and thus extending resource discovery from monograph or journal level to chapter, article or paragraph. The user can view (subject to copyright restrictions) content from their own desktop, without having to visit physically a library, museum or archive within its opening hours. Libraries, collections and items that have been dispersed over time can be virtually reunited and different states of objects, geographically separated, can be compared at the desktop. Different media – film and sound as well as books and manuscripts – can be brought together. Curatorial comment can be accessed easily at the same time and with Web 2.0 group curation becomes possible. Mass digitisation also creates a critical mass of materials that opens up the possibilities for new research using text-mining etc.


For example, the Cervantes Virtual Library includes content carefully selected by an expert team of academics. It is accessible by a unique platform and is organised in the same way as a typical library in sections, by authors etc. There are linguistic tools to facilitate searching. Some of the multimedia content is signed to facilitate access by the deaf.


Gallica 2 (BnF and French publishers) gives access to in-copyright and out-of-copyright material via an integrated interface.


The case studies in Annex 2 of this report include further examples of the added-value to the user.




The business models employed in the case study partnerships are varied and depend on the specifics of the project. They provide interesting examples of what works for the parties involved, and therefore provide a useful source of experience for cultural institutions in Member States to draw from.


    BnF and French publishers this is a business-to-consumer (B2C) business model.

Access to     public domain content will be free to the user; access to in-copyright material will be in the form of short extracts, with the specific agreement of the rights holder. Specialised sites will provide online browsing and full access to a protected document according to terms agreed by rights holders.


Publishers will bear the digitisation costs and in most cases will digitise their own content, although the BnF could act as a digitisation service provider for small publishers. Public subsidy may be granted to publishers to digitise their books should the content meet the digitisation strategy of the BnF. e-retailers will have contracts with publishers which will define the prices to the user for online access to in- copyright e-books.


The partnership will generate revenues for authors, publishers, content aggregators and e-book retailers through sales of e-books. The business model is under consideration, but the BnF and the French publishers have considered a range of possible business models as outlined in annex 2 of the case study (Annex 2.2). The BnF and the French publishers commissioned a study of the range of business models available for e-books, from those applied by e-book retailer to digital library models. The BnF and the French publishers recommend that an e-book retailer model would be the best suited to access of full text content for a large potential customer base and a growing catalogue of titles. This could include access to the full text of a single title, a “pay per view” model for access to single chapters or pages, or a subscription model enabling access to packages of e-books, organised by subject or author.


The BnF and the French publishers also recommend that the model could be tailored by the publisher and aggregator, but that each publisher chooses only one single aggregator.



     The British Library-Cengage Gale partnership will deliver access to approximately three million pages of digitised newspaper content via the Cengage Gale platform via both business-to-business (B2B) and B2C models. Because some of the content digitisation was funded by JISC[5], access to this content by users in the UK higher and further education sectors will be free. Cengage Gale is able to commercialise the

offering to other markets, for example in the US. It is anticipated that access to the scholarly user community will be via a subscription model. The general public will be charged a modest fee on a pay-per-view basis. The British Library receives a royalty on sales of newspaper content through the Cengage Gale platform, and this will be invested in further newspaper digitisation. As a result of this partnership, the public purse has not had to bear the considerable technical and infrastructure costs which would have been required had the British Library tried to achieve the project on its own. The business model is set out in a commercially confidential contract between the parties.


     The funding, costs and financial incentives to the partners within the Canada Project have not been finalised. Therefore there is no formal written agreement in place at this time. It is expected that a mix of government and private funding will drive the project; access to content will be free. However, the stakeholders recognise that funding, although critical, is only one aspect of the partnership. This is another B2C model.


     Funding of the Cervantes Virtual Library is mainly provided by the private and public institutions that sit on the organisation’s Board. A framework agreement was set up with  each  of  the  founding  sponsors,  and  once  the  Cervantes  Virtual  Library Foundation was established as a legal entity, similar agreements were established with the additional sponsors. The only financial incentive available to private partners is that they can reduce their corporation tax liability by deducting charitable contributions  from their  profits,  according  to  Spanish  law.  Users  can  access  the service for free via a B2C model.

     The B2C business model agreed between Google and the University of Michigan is set out in a publicly available co-operative agreement[6]. The University of Michigan provides its bound print collections to Google for scanning; all direct costs are borne by Google, including scanning costs, conversion and transmission of data, locating and re-shelving material. The University of Michigan receives a digital copy of the

digitised  works  to  use  for  its  own  purposes.  It  bears  costs  associated  with  the selection of material and internal project management. There is no payback for the University such as a royalty or revenue share. Google has pledged to make both search and a display of the search results free to the end-user.


    INA receives 60% of its income from the French government and earns the remaining

40% through commercial activities for professionals (a B2B model). As explained in the section 3 of this report, in 2000 it launched a major digitisation and preservation programme for its broadcast archives. This was financed initially through internal budgets. The government then made a significant financial contribution in order to accelerate the project and complete it by 2015. Professional users can search and select through www.inamediapro.com for contents hosted by INA. Since 2005 INA has  launched  broking  and  distribution  agreements  with  more  than  20  partners. Through INA’s commercial broking services, the contents are available on INA’s portal; INA receives a commission on transactions through the portal, but the responsibility for invoicing, rights management and content delivery remains with the external archive.

External archives can also deposit their assets with INA for commercial exploitation, effectively a distribution agreement. The distribution services provided range from complete management of the content from preservation to digital exploitation, to simpler forms such as storage and commercialisation only. INA is responsible for clearing rights, invoicing and content delivery. The revenues earned by INA are much more substantial and depend on the commercial agreement with the distribution partner.    Public   access   to   a   selection   of   the   content   is   available   through www.ina.fr/archivespourtous.


    The Open Content Alliance has a B2C business model but there is no revenue stream to publishers or rights holders because it focuses on out-of-copyright material and orphan  works.  However,  financial  benefits are  important  due  to  the  lowering  of digitisation costs and free distribution of content. This is achieved through pooling of existing resources and competencies, particularly with respect to technology innovation.  Funding  has  been  provided  by  charitable  foundations  and  through research grants, by organisations such as the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the State of California. Digitisation costs have been brought down to US$0.10 per page as a result of the co-operative efforts of Internet Archive and its partners. Libraries and search engines bear the reduced digitisation costs between them. The access and search infrastructure is provided at no extra cost for libraries by the open digital repositories network using their existing large-scale infrastructure and open source software. Open source development is used for search, browsing and transfer technologies, and new services like print-on-demand and scan-on-demand are being developed.


     The TNA Find My Past Limited partnership combines B2B and B2C models. Both partners secure revenue from micro-payments, whilst the public can purchase copies and downloads, though there is free public access onsite at TNA




This section is meant to provide basic information to help partners in a PPP agreement to make an informed decision concerning the digitisation of works and their making available through online access within the framework of PPP agreements.


1.Existing works to be digitised. At the outset, the partners need to consider whether the work has fallen into the public domain or, alternatively, is still protected by copyright or by related rights (including “typefaces”, as far as the UK is concerned). As copyright follows the principle of territoriality, the corresponding analysis must be conducted in accordance with all the relevant jurisdictions of the countries in which either digitisation or access (by way of communication or making available to the public), or both, take place. For present purposes, only European Union rules shall be considered.


While the duration of copyright protection in the European Union is as a rule 70 years post mortem auctoris, it may differ depending on the type of rightsholders and works. E.g. typefaces are protected for 25 years after publication, even in connection with works otherwise in the public domain.


If the work was created by a single author who died more than 70 years ago, then the digitisation and making available of the work can generally be undertaken without asking permission of the former right-holders.[7] If on the contrary the author of the work died less than 70 years ago, the PPP partners have to consider the applicable national copyright legislation, including recent amendments deriving from a set of copyright Directives (mainly the Term Directive, the Database Directive and the Copyright in the Information Society Directive) in the European Union.[8]                                                                                 


Digitisation taking place in the context of PPP involves the exclusive right of reproduction (Article 2 of the Copyright in the Information Society Directive). This exclusive right is subject to copyright exceptions. One example of such exceptions is Article 5.2.c of the Information Society Directive, which permits cultural establishments (publicly accessible libraries, educational establishments or museums, or archives, which are not for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage) to make specific acts of reproduction.


Under current EU legislation, providing online access to copyright protected works that have been digitised, involves the exclusive right of communication to the public, including the  making  available  right.  This  exclusive  right  may  be  subject  to  exceptions. For example,  the  exception  in  Article  5.3.n  of  the  Information  Society  Directive  permits cultural establishments to provide access within their premises.


Article 5.3. of the Information Society Directive includes a number of other exceptions to the right of reproduction and of communication/making available which might be applicable.


As  earlier  indicated,  different  legal  regimes  would  be  applicable  to  PPP  agreements outside of the European Union, which may have different rights and exceptions.[9]


All the exceptions referred to above apply to the extent provided by national laws. Under the three-step test under the Berne Convention, incorporated by Article 5.5 of the Information Society Directive, the relevant exceptions “shall only be applied in certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other subject- matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right-holder”.


Therefore if partners to a PPP agreement want to provide online access to copyright protected works, they first need to find out about the status of the work.


Where the rightsholder can be found and use of the work requires a licence, that licence needs to be negotiated with the right-holder. This can be particularly complex with audio- visual materials where multi-territoriality issues may arise.


2. Orphan Works, Out of Print Works. According to the solutions considered in the Report on Key Principles on Orphan Works and Out of Print Works, if the work still is in copyright and if the rightsholders cannot be identified or are untraceable after conducting a diligent search, then the work is considered as “orphan” and solutions are being considered which are to be deployed at national level.


According to the solutions proposed in the Report, if the work still is in copyright and is no longer being commercialised whether offline or online –, rightsholders and libraries


as one option may resort to this model licence attached to the Report and intended contractually to enable the provision of access to the work.


3. New rights. New rights may arise in connection with the process of digitisation. Digital reproduction itself may in certain circumstances generate an additional layer of copyright protection, e.g. the insertion of the tags, tokens and mark-ups which classify the semantic role  of  pre-existing  strings  of  words.          Creative  components  of  indexation,  e.g.  the underlying  algorithms,  might  also  attract  specific  IP  protection  independent  of  any digitised work, such as protection under trade secret law. Database law may also come into play.


Similar  issues  may  arise  in  connection  with  metadata,  meaning  information  about individual items subject to digitisation. In certain jurisdictions, the metadata classifying information concerning the origin of a given work, its status, its content, the place where the original is available, etc. may attract independent copyright protection. Even the templates into which uniform metadata are inserted may in certain cases be considered copyrightable works.


In the context of PPP, partners should consider who owns the rights that may be created in connection with digitisation and with the creation of corresponding metadata (if any) and under which conditions these new rights may be exploited, within the PPP project and beyond it. They should notably consider IP rights in material created on their behalf by third parties, including employees and contractors.


Ideally, new rights should neither restrict the freedom to use works already in the public domain nor decrease the degree of freedom enjoyed by copyright protected works. To make sure that this goal is reached, prior contractual arrangements between the PPP parties as well as between each parties and its employees and contractors is advisable. The partners may also wish to make sure that the solutions they adopt are interoperable, technologically and legally, with the other initiatives.


Case studies. Several of the case studies involve a mixture of in- and out- of copyright materials. The Canada project will provide free access to public domain and public sector content, and a growing body of rights-cleared in-copyright content. Although details of the intellectual property issues have not yet been worked out, it is a principle of the project that there will be no transfer of content ownership or copyright between any of the partners. It is expected that digitised versions of out-of-copyright material will remain in the public domain.


Similarly, the partnership established between the BnF and French publishers (as part of Gallica 2) combines public domain and in-copyright content. The publishers will retain control of the use of content for which they have acquired IP rights from authors. The explicit agreement of the rightsholders will be required to retrieve their content via the portal.

In the Google-University of Michigan partnership, in the USA legal regime, both public domain and in-copyright material will be scanned but the way the books are made available to users will differ depending on their copyright status. If a book is out of copyright, then it will be available to users in its entirety through Google Book Search. If it is in copyright then users will receive basic background information on the book through Google Book Search; two or three excerpts where the words searched appear and information on where to find it in a library, or where it can be purchased. Google states in Annex 2.4 that it “makes use of intellectual property that is fully consistent with fair use and the principles underlying both local and international copyright law”. However, publishers and Google disagree on the legality of both the digitisation itself and subsequent  online  access  to  excerpts  of  in-copyright  books.  This  is  the  subject  to litigation in the US and France.


The   partnership   between   the   BnF   and   France   Telecom   may   lead   to   software development: intellectual property rights in this need to be addressed to enable the results to be integrated into BnF online services.


The sub-group recommends that the guiding principle is that partnership should be established within the framework of applicable copyright law.






Public domain information refers to out-of-copyright works. It is essential that public domain information digitised in the context of PPPs remains accessible for all[10].


As for in-copyright material, the simple making of a digital copy of a work in the public domain, does not change its public domain status, both in the analogue and in the digital environment.


While public-private partnerships can be enormously successful and may offer major benefits to partners and citizens, they are not right for every cultural institution. Some public sector institutions see it as their mission to protect state ownership of the cultural assets of the nation and do not allow them to be exploited for commercial gain. They may view partnerships with the private sector, particularly if paid-for access is involved and re-use rights are granted on an exclusive basis, as enabling the privatisation of public knowledge.


Other cultural institutions view digitisation projects as providing an additional service, which would not have been available to users without private-sector funding. They may believe a fee to help cover the costs of digitisation is both justified and necessary. They point out that the underlying content remains in the public domain.


An  example of  this  is  the  British  Library-Cengage  Gale  partnership,  through  which

Cengage Gale has a licence to commercialise out-of-copyright digitised content to certain market sectors, for a limited period. Following this period the licence expires and the rights to exploit the digital content revert to the British Library. Access to the digitised

19-century newspaper content would not have been possible without the investment and access platform provided by Cengage Gale as British Library funds for digitisation are limited by the available government funding.


There is a great deal of sensitivity regarding commercialisation of public domain content through digitisation, and widely opposing views. The law in some Member States may not allow commercialisation of public sector assets. Some governments may offer significant investment for digitisation projects, so there may be no need for commercial business models to fund the project. It is for cultural institutions to decide their own opinions on this point and act accordingly, while respecting a number of basic principles outlined in this report.


The  sub-group  recommends  that  public  domain  content  in  the  analogue  world should remain in the public domain in the digital environment. If restrictions to user’s access and use are necessary in order to make the digital content available at all, these restrictions should only apply for a time-limited period.




The sub-group has identified three levels of exclusivity in PPPs: exclusivity of partners, content and search/ access.


The sub-group recommends that exclusive arrangements for digitising and distributing the digital assets of cultural institutions are to be avoided.


This should be balanced with the need for the PPP to provide the level of incentive for private partners to engage in digitisation and making available the assets of cultural institutions.






All the partnerships considered through the case studies in this report are non- exclusive in that partnering with one organisation does not preclude the parties partnering with another.


For example, the British Library-Cengage Gale partnership is non-exclusive in that the British Library can establish partnerships with other players to digitise newspaper content. The partnership was established through an open tender process according to EU procurement rules.


Other case studies involve collaborative arrangements with a broad range of different public and private sector players. For example, the Canada project was established with three founding partners as stated in section 3, but further discussions are being held with other corporate organisations, research libraries and archives, governmental organisations, publishers, authors groups and heritage organisations. Similarly the Cervantes Virtual Library was set up with a small number of founding partners but has grown to include contributions from nine public sector and eight private sector organisations. New organisations may join the project with the agreement of the Board.


However, the BnF-French publishers' partnership does involve a level of exclusivity as publishers are supposed to choose only one aggregator to work with, for practical reasons. This relates to in-copyright material.






Some PPPs may involve a level of exclusivity regarding the content that is being digitised – that the partnership prevents the public-sector institution digitising its copies of the content with another private-sector provider. Timing is important and exclusivity may be necessary for a limited period of time, notably when otherwise the content would not be available to the public. This exclusivity provides a commercial advantage  to  private-sector  players,  as  there  would  be  a  disincentive  to  private partners to invest when they have limited prospects of realising a commercial return. Cultural institutions need to bear in mind that private sector organisations generally have to demonstrate the added-value of new services for users and the subsequent creation of value for shareholders through a cash-flow stream.


An example of this is the British Library-Cengage Gale partnership through which Cengage Gale has an exclusive licence to use the digitised newspaper content via its platform for a limited period of time, and therefore create a commercial opportunity (subject to restrictions based on the digitisation agreements with other stakeholders).


Cultural institutions can consider the use of a creative commons licence if they wish to allow digitised content to be available for re-use.




The third level of exclusivity which may be established through partnerships is that of search/ access. PPPs involving search engines financing digitisation of content may limit search on the resulting digitised copies to specific search services to prevent them  from  being  indexable  by  other  search  engines.  Making  digitised  copies  of content searchable through a search portal increases the added value of the service for users, thereby increasing the incentive needed for private partners to engage in digitisation of content. (Note that access to the content itself depends on its copyright status).


In the Google-Michigan partnership, the University of Michigan library receives a digital copy of the digitised works to use for its own purposes. The co-operative agreement between the parties states that the University of Michigan agrees to restrict automated access to the digital copies created, and to prevent third parties from downloading the digital copies for commercial purposes, or redistributing them. This does not prevent other search engines from making their own digital copy of the content to make it searchable through their own platform, but would prevent them from crawling and indexing the digitised copies made in the context of the Google- Michigan partnership.


The stance taken by the Open Content Alliance is to establish non-exclusivity of search and access. Search engines participating in the project must be willing to provide open search of the digitised content. Development of new search tools and indexing techniques can happen therefore independently of partner search engines.


The European Digital Library has stated as an objective that it will make content searchable through any search engine so as not to distort or limit access. Again it is for cultural institutions to decide which approach is the best one for them to take to provide maximum benefits to users and citizens.




Directive 2003/98/EC[11] sets out specific rules for the re-use of public sector information[12] which applies to digitised content, and came into force on 1st July 2005. Re-use is defined in the Directive as “the use by persons or legal entities of documents held by public sector bodies, for commercial or non-commercial purposes other than the initial purpose within the public task for which the documents were produced”. The Directive notes that “public sector information is an important primary material for digital content products and services”. Re-use therefore includes the use of public domain digitised content in products  and  services  such  as  search,  research  tools,  incorporation  into  third  party products and services, and so on.


The Directive states that:


     Member  States  shall  ensure  that  public  sector  documents  shall  be  re-usable  for commercial or non-commercial purposes (subject to copyright of third parties and data protection laws)

     Where charges are made for re-use, the total income from supplying and allowing re- use shall not exceed the cost, together with a reasonable return on investment

     That if a licence is required for re-use of the document, the licence shall be open and transparent

     The re-use of documents shall be open to all potential players in the market; contracts between the public sector body holding the documents and third parties shall not grant generally exclusive rights.

    However, where an exclusive right is necessary for the provision of a service in the public interest, the validity of the reason for granting this right shall be subject to regular review, at a minimum of every three years. Moreover, the agreement should be transparent and made public.


At the time of writing, the Directive specifically excluded documents held by educational and  research  establishments,  and  documents  held  by  cultural  institutions,  such  as libraries, museums and archives. However, the sub-group recommends that cultural institutions should aim to abide by the Directive.




In order for digitisation projects to provide ongoing benefits for all the parties involved, the sub-group agrees that they should be sustainable in the long-term. In all of the case studies we considered, the parties considered sustainability to be either an explicit or implicit objective; and the partnerships were envisaged for the long-term.


For example, the British Library has achieved sustainability of its newspaper digitisation project by allowing its partner Cengage-Gale to charge a pay-per-use or subscription fee to certain markets, with a royalty payment back to the British Library. Any income to the British Library will be ploughed back into further newspaper digitisation, ensuring that product can be expanded and developed over time. The partnership is renewable after a certain period of time.


In addition, sustainability generally also applies to the need to preserve digital material for the long-term, and to support long-term access. The sub-group recommends that partners should consider the full lifecycle costs of digital content when establishing digitisation partnerships. Costs may arise through collection, description, production and dissemination, as well as long-term storage and preservation.


As another example, The Canada Project intends to digitise all of Canada’s extensive published and scientific heritage, with a guiding principle that content should be created and maintained “according to standards that support preservation and very long-term access”[13]. The case study notes that in terms of the length of the anticipated partnership, “five years may not suffice”.


With the Cervantes Virtual Library, partnership agreements are generally signed for a period of 4 years, but the life of the project is seen as being much longer.





Formal governance is necessary for PPPs because the objectives of the partners – shareholders, rightsholders and public may create tensions. The PPPs illustrated by the case studies annexed to this report make use of, in most cases, formal governance arrangements enshrined in a formal contract between the parties. These contracts should set out formally the key terms of agreements between the parties on the issues illustrated in this report - for example, exclusivity, the exact contribution of the parties and the term of the agreement. An area for attention is branding: public partners often do not communicate  their  brand  in  many  PPPs  in  the  same  way  as  private  partners.  A contractual framework allows their brand to be protected and communicated in the way that both partners want.


Formal contractual arrangements may be necessary to ensure that participants are clear on their rights and obligations in digitisation projects.


The management of digitisation projects should be set out in clear and transparent governance arrangements so that ongoing issues can be resolved and managed on a timely basis.


The ‘Cooperative agreement’ between Google and the University of Michigan covers the purposes of the agreement, definitions, responsibilities, costs borne by the partners, ownership and use of digital copies and services, access, authorization and support, confidentiality,  marketing,    terms and          termination,     warranties                            and               disclaimer, indemnification and liability.


The standard Licensed Internet Associateship (The National Archives) agreement in addition has specific schedules for acknowledgements, provision of hyperlinks, deliverables and milestones timetables, service specifications and reporting, service level agreement and trade mark licence.


The sub-group recommends that PPPs have formal governance arrangements enshrined in a formal contract between parties.




All  of  the  PPPs  researched  through  case  studies  deal  with  major  global  languages: English, French and Spanish. At present, the sub-group has been unable to find examples of successful PPPs for digitisation in member states with languages spoken by a much smaller number of people. There are a number of potential reasons for the lack of PPPs in these countries:


     In order to recoup a satisfactory return on investment, private sector firms need to be able to reach a minimum number of users, which limits commercial business models to large geographic areas or languages spoken by large volumes of people

     Public sector organisations tend to be less encumbered by regulations preventing private investment in countries which have embraced de-regulated markets and open competition

     Cultural institutions tend to attract government funding for digitisation in smaller countries with lower volumes of legacy content to be digitised, such as the new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe.

     Moreover, in the new EU member states, the generally smaller size of private firms compared to those in established member states may mean that private firms have reduced access to capital.


There are certain to be exceptions to these generalisations, and the sub-group welcomes case studies outside these major language groups for inclusion in this report.




Although the research into case studies by the sub-group has not been exhaustive, it is clear that PPPs are not widespread within the cultural sector in Europe. Certain cultural institutions are sensitive to a risk of privatisation of public domain material. Moreover, there are several potential barriers to establishing PPPs, despite the potential benefits; some of these, such as the need for private sector partners to ensure a commercial return on investment, language and market size issues have been explained above. Public and private partners may have competing and contradictory demands on their activities which must be balanced to create a successful partnership, bringing maximum benefits for users and citizens. Because PPPs are not widespread in Europe, public sector institutions may not have the negotiation skills required to deliver the best outcomes. This is changing as public sector institutions recognise that they need to recruit a mix of public- and private- sector expertise to take these partnerships forward.


Most of the partnerships we have investigated are still in their preliminary stages of development, and therefore it is too early to make general conclusions as to the key elements of success. However, in conclusion the sub-group makes a number of recommendations as to critical success factors, as follows:


     Partners clearly state their strategic objectives and the benefits for the citizen to be achieved through the project

     The partnership fully utilises the experience and expertise of the partners, and brings complementary contributions

     The   partnership   maximises   public   access   and   takes   into   account   long-term preservation and sustainability issues

     The   partnership   operates   within   the   framework   of   applicable   copyright   and intellectual property law

     The partnership does not establish exclusive agreements. Where exclusive agreements are necessary to provide a service in the public interest, that such exclusive arrangements are time-limited, regularly reviewed and transparent.

     The     partnership  is  transparent,  accountable,  and  managed  through  a  formal governance structure

     The partnership is formally established through a memorandum of understanding or contract.

     Public domain content in the analogue world should remain in the public domain in the digital environment. If restrictions to user’s access and use are necessary in order to make the content available at all, these restrictions should only apply for a time- limited period.


The sub-group recognises that PPPs can deliver major benefits for the partners, citizens and rights holders. The sub-group recommends that public institutions actively engage with private institutions as an option to achieve mass digitisation projects; however partners must fully consider their own unique objectives and circumstances before doing so. A full check list of the potential issues to consider is included at Annex 3; this draws on the case studies and the experience of the sub-group members.


The sub-group would like to thank all the organisations who submitted case studies, the stakeholders consulted, and the European Commission for their help in the preparation of this report.






Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive, British Library (Chair) Anne Bergman-Tahon, Director, Federation of European Publishers Lucie Burgess, Head of Strategy and Planning, British Library

Stephen Bury, Head of European and American Collections, British Library


Julien Masanès, Director, European Archive


Patricia Moll, European Policy Manager (substituted by Antoine Aubert), Google


Daria Nałęcz, Prof. of History, Polish Academy of Sciences & Pultusk Academy of



Elisabeth Niggemann, Director General, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek


Luis Rodríguez, Institutional Relations Director, Fundación Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes


Lucien Scotti, Director for European and International Affairs, Bibliothèque nationale de



Daniel Teruggi, Head of Research, Institut National de l'Audiovisuel


Stéphanie Van Duin, Director of Business Development, Hachette Livre




Secretariat: Luca  Martinelli,  Principal  Administrator  and  Policy  Officer,  European









ANNEX 2.1   Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (Cervantes Virtual Library)

ANNEX 2.2   Bibliothèque nationale de France and Syndicat National de l’Edition,

France (BnF and French Publishers) (An experiment within Gallica 2)

ANNEX 2.3 British Library and Thomson Gale (British Library and Gale)

ANNEX 2.4   Google and the University of Michigan (Google – Michigan project)

ANNEX 2.5   Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, France (INA)

ANNEX 2.6   Library  &  Archives  Canada,  Open  Text  Corporation  and  the

University of Waterloo (The Canada Project)

ANNEX 2.7   The Open Content Alliance

ANNEX 2.8 The National Archives (TNA) and Find My Past Limited (Licensed

Internet Associateship)


ANNEX 2.9   Bibliothèque nationale de France – France Telecom




Annex 2.1.




Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes


1.   Key players


    Please include here a brief explanation of the players involved in the partnership and overview of their role and key activities:


According to its founding statutes, the main support of the Foundation structure is the Patronato  (Board  of  Trustees  or  Sponsors). This  Board  is  composed  of  diverse institutions  and  corporations,  from  both  the  public  and  private  sectors.  Amongst these, we can highlight the original sponsors: Banco de Santander, Fundación Marcelino Botín and Universidad de Alicante. The Board is the responsible entity in charge of the fulfilment of the goals of the Foundation. The list of the patrons is as follows:


Public Partners

Universidad de Alicante (Alicante University)

Ministerio de Cultura (Ministery of Cultura)

Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Ministery for Education and Science) Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales (Ministery for Labor and Social Affairs) Secretaría de Estado de Cooperación Internacional (Secretary of State for

International Cooperation)

Generalitat Valenciana (Regional Governement of Valencia)

Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas (Conference of Deans of

Spanish Universities)

Real Academia Española (Royal Academy for Spanish Langugage)

Instituto Cervantes (Cervantes Institute)


Private Partners

Banco Santander

Fundación Marcelino Botín


Grupo PRISA (Media) Repsol YPF

Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez

Federación de Gremios Editores de España (Spanish Editors' Association) Universia (internet portal for Universities)


There is also a different entity – the Scientific Committee – with several functions related to the contents of the Virtual Library. Specifically, this committee is responsible for the design and conceptual definition of the Library itself, leading and supervising content programming, and thus ensuring a high scientific quality of content within the Library.



The Scientific Committee is an advisory committee comprising 12 members, all of whom are experts in different areas concerning the works of the Virtual Library: philology, librarians, internet technology, linguistic, literature, history etc.




     How was the partnership established – e.g. did a formal selection of the partner take place or was the partnership a natural evolution of an existing relationship?


The original sponsors were responsible for defining the profile of members who would progressively become members of the Board. The main criterion used during the selection process was the degree of affinity of each member with the goals and scope of the project, namely the development of the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library.


Accordingly, different institutions were identified and were invited to be members through a formal approach process. Once decided, the institutions/ corporation, etc. are represented at the highest level.


     Was the partnership exclusive or non-exclusive?


In no case whatsoever are the collaborative relationships established between the Foundation and its partners of an exclusive nature. In our understanding, the magnitude  and  scope  of  this  kind  of  project  is  improved  and  bettered  by  a participation that is as open and collaborative as possible. In fact, the notability and renown of the institutions that are part of the Foundation has been achieved through their  participation  and  experience  in  widely  diverse  cultural  projects  of  high relevance.


2.   Objectives


     What did the partnership aim to achieve?


The common goal of the Foundation members is set by the Foundation statutes, namely the “continued development of the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library so that it can be used as an optimal tool to support the expansion of Spanish and Latin American culture across the world, through the use and application of the most advanced technological means to the most relevant works of the Hispanic literature, science and culture”.


In some cases, part of the funds provided by the sponsor is dedicated to a specific activity; for instance, Telefonica has sponsored the Abbey of Montserrat for several years. This Abbey, located in Cataluña, is very well renowned for its library which contains a huge amount of old documents and books, very much appreciated by researchers. Among the three institutions (Telefonica, the Abbey and the Virtual Library), we agreed to allocate part of the funds from Telefonica for digitising   a number of books from the Abbey.


     What were the strategic objectives of the partners and how closely did they align?


The goal of the Foundation (thus shared by the Library) was to create a web space to enable the spreading of Hispanic cultures.  The continued membership, involvement and continuity of both professionals and institutions who collaborate in the Virtual Library is the best possible way to express the achievement of our goals, for our partners and the Foundation alike.


As a part of its corporate social responsibility, Telefonica has its own Foundation which “carries out important work in the field of art and culture. Within this framework, all of the projects promoted by the Foundation are designed with educational and pedagogical characteristics” (source: Fundacion Telefonica Annual Report).


Another case: “the Fundacion Marcelino Botin (Marcelino Botin Foundation) is developing innovative projects –the Responsible Education, Technological Transfer and Heritage and Land Programmes- in three areas of strategic action: Education, Science and Sustainable               Development. Additionally, it collaborates in the development of initiatives planned and managed by other specialized institutions with social,  health  and  cultural  objectives,  such  as  the  Miguel  de  Cervantes  Virtual Library”  (source: Annual Report).


In the case of Banco Santander it must be stressed that “the Santander Universities Global Division, has established a unique cooperation model with universities in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, providing stable and growing support to 985 universities. Santander Universities also supports and develops other large and international projects arising from its work with universities over the years like the Miguel  de  Cervantes  Virtual  Library”  (source:  Corporate  Social  Responsibility Annual Report).


3.   Contribution of the parties


    What did each of the parties contribute to the partnership?


From an operating point of view, each member of the Board and the Scientific Committee  has  an  active  participation  (scientifically  or  institutionally),  as  was defined in the first section of this document. However, it must be noted that the economic resources necessary for the development of the Library are mainly provided by the institutions and key corporations that belong to the Board.


For an example, also see nbr. 2 above (Objectives, 1st question).


Were there any other key stakeholders in the project or programme, and if so, what was their contribution?


The Foundation is responsible for fund-raising activities. To this end, it is in charge of developing projects which are then presented to public and private, cultural and non- cultural organizations which sponsor financial aids and subventions. This ensures a certain income that is added to its yearly resources. However, this extra income is neither predictable nor continuous and is normally used in specific projects for the improvement of the Library.


According  to  their  relationship  with  the  Foundation,  we  can  include  our  partner entities in one out of three collaboration categories (see list of partners in nbr. 1 Key Players):


-    Cultural entities which provide financial aid.

-    (Mainly)   Private   corporations   which   are   economically   involved   in   the development of the Library.

-    Partnerships         with        other        cultural        institutions        which        see www.cervantesvirtual.com as an excellent support for cultural communication and diffusion, and that have similar goals and user profiles.


4.   Benefits


     What were the key benefits to the cultural institution and private sector player?


The common benefits, both for our institution and for our sponsors/partners, are related to the participation in an international cultural project such as the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library, which has become the cultural reference on the Web for teachers, students, researchers, philologists and the Spanish-speaking community in general.


The renown, magnitude, image, preminence and national and global positioning achieved are highly beneficial values to those private entities members of the Foundation, and also to those that develop commercial exchange activities or institutional relationships.


     What were the public good aspects of the partnership, and benefits to the citizen?


The  general  benefits  to  citizens  could  be  summarized  as  “universalization  of education and culture” and “socialization of knowledge in an interactive way, within a multicultural international environment”.


It must be stressed that the Virtual Library provides free access: no fee is charged in any case.


     How were these benefits articulated and communicated to key stakeholders?



The Foundation is permanently involved in communication initiatives.


On one hand, two bulletins are distributed. One of them, directed to the end-user, is adapted to his/her areas of interest and is composed and delivered online in digital format. The second one is sent to the sponsors, members of the Board and the Scientific Committee and other people of interest and relevance to the Foundation (mainly related to the educational and cultural sectors), in written format.


On the other, the Foundation carries out information and communication campaigns in newspapers, websites and cultural fora.


5.   Business model


     What were the key constituents of the revenue and cost model?


Both the Foundation and its development are made possible, mainly, thanks to the financial support provided by some of the 17 institutions members of the Board. This is the configuration of their contributions (monetary). All the contributions are included in the formal (written) agreement established with each partner.

-     Four of the sponsors provide annual contributions, (these being the original sponsors who provide the larger part of the contributions for developing the Virtual Library), always according to the collaboration agreements that were established with each particular institution.

-     Three other public sponsors collaborate too, via public funding, which differ in periodicity, character and time scope. These resources are normally used to improve the contents programme, for promotion activities, etc.


The  three  sponsors  taken  as  an  example  contribute  annually  with  an  amount  of money, included in the terms of agreement.


     How did the private sector partner monetise the project or activity?


Private corporations and, members of the Board can deduct their contributions from

Corporate Tax, as established by current tax laws.


On occasion, especially in projects developed with public funding, the donating (public) organisms require the private partner to share intellectual property for the project deliverables, and also for the public funding agent to mention explicitly all actions carried out as a result of the granted funds.


All the contracts have specific terms depending on the partner and so they are not publicly available.


     Was there an equivalent pay back for the public institution such as a royalty payment or revenue share?



(See above)


     Which costs did each party bear?


There is not a split of costs allocated to each institution of the Board.


     Were there any financial incentives or penalties included in the partnership, and what form did these take?


Participation and support are regulated in the agreements, but the only financial incentive is the above-mentioned tax deduction.


     Was the business model clearly stated in a written agreement, and if so, what were the key terms?


Initially, when the Library was started up, there existed a framework agreement with the founding sponsors. In this agreement, it was established how each entity would be involved in the Library project. In a later stage, once the Foundation was legally established (to provide institutional, legal and management support to the Library), similar agreements were established with the additional Sponsors.


6.   Ownership of intellectual property


     N.B. This section is again intended to be descriptive and should be disclosed only with reference to commercial sensitivities and without breach of confidentiality

     What were the key intellectual property issues, and how were they dealt with?


Most of the digitized documents are in the public domain. Some others with intellectual property rights have been bestowed to the Foundation from their authors or rights holders, via written statements according to the current Intellectual Property Rights Laws.


     What were the key copyright constraints, and how were the appropriate permissions obtained from rights holders?


In general, and except in very few cases, the contents are bestowed upon us to be used exclusively for online distribution via  www.cervantesvirtual.com, always with non- restricted access.


7.   Governance


     N.B. This section is again intended to be descriptive and should be disclosed only with reference to commercial sensitivities and without breach of confidentiality

     How was the partnership governed and how were the relationships managed to ensure that the partnership fulfilled its aims and objectives?



The management team is responsible of the daily operations. The strategic decisions must be approved by the Board of Trustees. There is also a sub-group of Patrons that meets every three months for supervising the work of the management team.


     What was the form of the partnership, e.g. informal, formal, licence-based, joint venture, commercial agreement, etc?


Written agreements are set up with each sponsor with the specific conditions of the collaboration.


     Were the principles of the partnership clearly stated in a written agreement, such as a contract or memorandum of understanding? If so, how was this structured and what were the key terms?


Written agreements usually include:


-     general description of the collaboration.

-     specific details referring to the economic or scientific contribution, duration, non-disclosure, intellectual property rights…


    What was the mechanism for dispute resolution?


A follow-up committee is considered in the written agreements for the daily follow up of the partnership and, if necessary, for dispute resolution (up to date, never has been utilized).


8.   Termination and exit


    What was the length of term of the partnership, and the mechanism for terminating once the project or programme was complete?


As a general rule, four years is the duration of the agreement. Although in some specific cases, only an annual renewal is possible.


9.   Critical success factors


    How was success defined and measured?


From the beginning, different quantitative and qualitative criteria have been used. Quantitative:

-     Number of users, number of pages downloaded, nbr. of susbcribers to the news bulletin,

-     Corporate: nbr. and value of subventions from public institutions, nbr. of links, nbr. of collaboration proposals received.

-     Nbr. of books, documents, etc. digitized. Qualitative:

-     Communication about and positioning of the Virtual Library in different fora of the cultural, educational and library sectors.

-     Seminars,  Congresses,  at  national  and  international  levels,  in  which  the

Foundation participates.


There  are  no  specific  critical  success  factors  for  each  partner.  As  it  has  been explained, for the three sponsors taken as an example, their collaboration is a consequence of their corporate social responsibility policy.


     Was the partnership successful, and if so, what were the key factors that contributed to this success? Examples could include an alignment with strategic objectives, a good personal relationship between the parties, strong financial incentives


The most obvious proof  is the loyalty of both the users and the institutions.


-     Board of Trustees: extended collaboration for years.

-     Collaborators: constantly offering help for new projects.

-     Excellent positioning before the civil society.


10. Risks and issues


     What were the key risks to the parties and the success of the partnership, and how were these managed and mitigated?


As the Foundation is a nonprofit organization, all the developments with economic impact are, in the yearly plan, strictly linked to the expected forecast of the year.


      Were there any conflicts between the activities of the partnership and the hosts, and how were these conflicts overcome?





Annex 2.2


Bibliothèque nationale de France – French publishers partnership



Key players


The partnership is between :


-   the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) ;


-   publishers willing to participate in the experience (see list in annex 1) ;


-   e-retailers (Numilog, Cyberlibris, Tite-Live, La Documentation française, Cairn, Gallimard, Editis, i-kiosque, Sofedis, Minitelorama/Edilivre, HDS Digital) chosen by the publishers ;


-   and, in the future, e-booksellers (general or specialised).


The partnership was established as the evolution of an existing relationship, i.e. a joint BnF-SNE[14]   working  group  on  possible  business  models  for  including  copyrighted material in a common search portal combining public domain documents and copyrighted material.


The BnF has issued an indicative documentary policy document for the future common platform, covering both public domain and copyrighted works. It has also prepared technical specifications for the e-retailers (OAI compliance and repositories, metadata for book indexing, etc.). Lastly but not least, it has developed an experimental platform within its Gallica2 digital library including a search engine able to search both public domain  and  copyrighted  works  in  a  common  index  as  well  as  functionalities  for providing first access to those documents.


For public domain material, the users will be able to access and download the full text, whereas for the copyrighted material, the users will have free access to cover pages 1 and 4,  to  the  table  of  contents  and,  in  some  cases,  a  summary  (depending  on  the publishers’ agreement). If the users wish to have access to the full content, they will be redirected to the e-retailers websites.


The publishers will select the books (under copyright) they want to include in the platform and will digitise them. Digitisation according to technical specifications is delivered to the BnF directly by the publishers.


A set of e-retailers has been selected based on technical specifications and presence on the market. A working group including IT people from the BnF and the e-retailers has been  set  up  to  guarantee  the  efficiency  of  the  service  and  to  set  up  the  adequate interfaces. The e-retailers will have contracts with the publishers by which they define together the fees for accessing the copyrighted documents put online in case a user is interested  in  purchasing  the  electronic  version  of  the  book,  using  secure  DRM



The partnership is non-exclusive in the sense that any publisher/distributor is free to join other search platforms.





The partnership aims at setting up a single and common platform, combining public domain  documents  and  copyrighted  material,  designed  to  test  the  business  model proposed in the study ordered jointly by the BnF and the SNE (see annex 2).


What were the strategic objectives of the partners and how closely did they align ?


For the BnF, the objective is to increase the number and type of documents put online on a digital library ; for the publishers, it is to increase the visibility of their products while testing new distribution models by offering copyrighted material online.



Contribution of the parties


What did each of the parties contribute to the partnership ? (see above)





The key benefits to the cultural institution and private sector players are the following :


-   for the BnF : to complement the online offer of public domain material with copyrighted documents according to a pre-established documentary policy ;


-   for the publishers : to promote their books, to increase their visibility, to make profitable the access to full texts, to retain control on their collections ;


-   for all parties : to include all the actors of the book chain (authors, publishers, booksellers, e-retailers, libraries, readers, etc.)


The way the project has been designed is fully respectful of intellectual property and copyright laws. The public good aspects of the partnership, and benefits to the citizen are an increase of the online offer of titles, with due respect to the intellectual property rights.


These benefits are articulated and communicated to key stakeholders through the joint working group.



Business model


The project aims precisely at experimenting a viable and sustainable business model.


Is there an equivalent pay back for the public institution such as a royalty payment or revenue share ?




Which costs does each party bear ?


See above ("contribution of the parties")


Are there any financial incentives or penalties included in the partnership, and what form did these take ?




Is the business model clearly stated in a written agreement, and if so, what were the key terms ?


No. The project aims precisely at experimenting a viable and sustainable business model.



Ownership of intellectual property


The prerequisite for putting online material protected by IP and copyright law, is the transfer, by the authors to the publishers, of the reproduction and representation rights attached to their works.


Through the publishing contract, the authors transfer to the publishers the right to create copies of the works, the publishers being in charge of their publication and distribution.


However, publishing contracts, particularly the older ones, do not foresee in a systematic way the transfer of rights for a digital exploitation of published works. In this case, amendments to the initial contracts are necessary in order to authorize the publishers to exploit the works in this new way.


These amendments determine the basis and the rate of the authors remuneration due to this new exploitation. It also allows for the possible use of technical means for total or partial protection of the works, in accordance with French copyright law.



This contractual framework allows the publishers to have the works distributed through e-retailers according to a chosen business model. The publishers determine the format, the presentation, the price, the date of publication and the conditions for accessing the works. The publishers will exploit the works in full respect of the authorsmoral rights.



The e-retailers will then authorize the BnF to index the works in the Gallica2 portal. The BnF doesn’t request exclusivity: the works can be distributed and indexed by other websites or portals.


The indexing is made by the BnF through the inclusion of the descriptive metadata in its own servers and the display of these metadata in the results list provided by the Gallica2 search engine.



The BnF will also be able to index the full content of a work if the publisher authorizes the e-retailer to do so and if the e-retailer provides the content to the BnF. In this case, a short excerpt of the content is displayed so that the user receives information about the context of the result of the search.



The e-retailer is also requested to authorize the BnF to establish a link towards the retailer’s website, accompanied with its name and logo.





In addition to the author(s)/publisher(s) contract(s) and the publisher(s)/ e-retailer(s) contract(s) (see above IP section), the BnF has a formal licence agreement with the e- retailers, which authorizes the BnF to include, in its own servers, the descriptive metadata which will be displayed in the results lists, or the full content (if the author and the publisher have given permission), to make and store safeguard copies of the metadata (or of the full content, if authorized).


The e-retailers commit to give access to the works under copyright in a digital form (the price of which is determined by the publisher) and to allow free browsing of the works.


The procedure for dispute resolution will be a judicial one, according to French law.



Termination and exit


The experiment will have a one-year duration (starting March 2008) and the contracts between the BnF and the e-retailers are on an annual (renewable) basis.


A global balance of the experiment will be made after one year.



Critical success factors


The success will be defined and measured through the number of books available through the platform, the number of publishers joining the project, as well as technical factors such as the efficiency (speed, relevance of results, etc.) of the search engine.


Risks and issues


Some of the key issues are :


-   the extent of the transfer of contents from the publishers to the common index (the richer the transfer i.e. full text as opposed to simple metadata - the better the search) ; This issue has already been solved.


-   the implementation of standards for the exchange of metadata ;


-   the sustainability of the project in relation to the "big" search engines (Google, Yahoo, MS, etc.) since the platform will use the libraries classification principles, which are more efficient than the ones used by the "big" search engines and which provide more relevant results.


No conflicts between the activities of the partnership and the hosts are foreseen, since everything is done on an experimental and voluntary basis.


This is a typical public/private project where each partner retains its role and identity (public service provided by the public institution ; commercial services handled by the e- retailers and the publishers).



Other relevant information


Please see hereafter (in annex) the executive summary of the Numilog report " Study for the Elaboration of a Business Model for the Participation of Publishers in the European Digital Library Project", which explains the projected business model.

See also the BnF website : (http://www.bnf.fr/pages/zNavigat/frame/version_anglaise.htm?ancre=english.htm)



[Annex 1]


List of publishers taking part in the experiment of a digital offer including copyrighted documents (as of March. 7th, 2008).



Academia-Bruylant, 10/18, Actes Sud, AFNOR, Agone, Albin Michel, Archange Minotaure, Argus Valentines, Atelier du Gué, Belin, Chan-Ok, Climats, CréaPassions, Dalloz, Diateino, Duno, Du Puits Fleuri, Edilivre, Ediscience, Editions Alpen, Editions Amphora, Editions Artémis, Editions Bayard, Editions Charles Corlet, Editions T.J. Sanz, Editions Vagabonde, Editions Viviane Hamy, Editions Zinedi, Editions Zulma, EDP Sciences, Elina, EMS Editions, E-theque, L'Etudiant, Express editions, Eyrolles, Fayard, Flammarion, Fleuve noir, Gallimard, Gremese International, Gualino Editeur, Hermès Sciences, INSEP Consulting Editions, La Découverte, La Documentation française, Lavoisier, La Louve Editions, Editions Complexe, Editions Déclics, Editions de l'Archipel, Éditions de l'Eclat, Editions de l’Emmanuel, Editions de l'Olivier, Editions de l'OCDE, Editions de Minuit, Editions Demos, Editions d'Organisation, Editions du Temps, Editions de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, Editions de la Table Ronde, Editions Ecriture, Editions Fédérop, Editions Féret, Editions Florent Massot, Editions Jean-Paul Gisserot, Editions La Volte, Editions Lafontaine, Editions Le Cavalier Bleu, Editions LGDJ, Editions Le Manuscrit, Editions Les Capucines, Editions Marie-Claire, Editions Métailié, Leduc.s Editions, Le Seuil, Le Souffle d'Or, L'Harmattan, Les Editions culinaires, Les Editions Diateno, Les Editions Mondéos,  M21 Editions, Magnard, manuscrit.com, Masson, Maxima, Nathan, Oskar, Pearson, Perrin, PLB Editions, Presses du Châtelet, Presses polytechniques universitaires romandes, Presses universitaires de France, Presses universitaires de Grenoble, Presses universitaires de Rennes, Pocket, Pocket Jeunesse, P.O.L., Quae, Editions MF, Editions Michalon, Editions Milan,

Editions Montchrestien, Editions Motus, Editions Passage du Nord-Ouest, Editions Payot et Rivages, Editions Romain Pages, Editions Stéphane Leduc, Editions Sud-Ouest, Quidam Editeur, Retz, Ricochet, Robert Laffont, Salvator, Samedi Midi editions, Tec & Doc, T.J. Sanz Editeur, Univers Poche, Vuibert


[Annex 2]




Study for the Elaboration of a Business Model for the Participation of Publishers in the European Digital Library Project : Executive Summary


The “Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)” (French national Library) has been given the responsibility of the French contribution to the European digital library, a project which proposed label is Europeana. It is using its experience with the Gallica project, which already offers more than 80.000 works free of copyright online and downloadable for free. A prototype website of Europeana has been launched in march, 2007 with

120.000 titles from France, Hungary and Portugal.


BnF strategy for Europeana is to display out of copyright books on this library as well as more recent under copyright books. In order to achieve this goal, the BnF and the French Association of Publishers (SNE) have delegated the responsibility of elaborating a possible business model to Numilog.com (Numilog), an ebooks’ specialist. This business model must take into account the different players that have different interests, as well as the economic, functional, technical and legal constraints for works under copyright. The method used has been to identify the possible business models that would combine the constraints of the BnF under the Europeana guidelines and specifications, as well as the objectives and constraints of the publishers who will participate by contributing works for which  they  hold  the  rights.  Other  constraints  include  the  technical  viability  of  the proposed models, and more importantly the reliability of the protection and remuneration of the copyright holders, the integration of the different players of the book industry, an awareness of domestic and foreign experiences with the existing economic models and the potential costs.


The main results of the study are summarized below:






Use of ebooks is justified by lots of advantages, e.g.: immediate worldwide availability, easiness of transport for large collection of ebooks, and the interactive functionalities like full-text search engines within a book or a catalogue of books, adaptability of the size of the text to each personal viewing preferences, hypertext links, rich media add-ons or use of vocal synthesis software’s for visually impaired people. Access to ebooks can be offered on line or off line after download, on various kinds of electronic devices: computers, PDAs, Smartphones or the new electronic ink based readers with a paper-like rendering for reading.


A new ebook industry can be identified, with some analogies with the traditional book industry, where several major players are interacting:


- Writers and publishers,  who create the books and are the right holders ;

- Hosting platforms for ebooks files and associated metadatas;

- On line search portals, which propose full-text search engines to search inside the books, and possibilities to flip through the books found;

- Aggregators, which manage catalogue of ebooks from many publishers, implement

DRM systems and offer several economic models and reading solutions;