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Opportunities and risks for libraries in applying for European funding

Seth van Hooland (Library and Information Science Department, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Françoise Vandooren (Libraries Head Office, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium)
Eva M. Méndez Rodríguez (Library and Information Science Department, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 15 February 2011



This paper seeks to analyse the opportunities and potential risks for libraries applying for European support to fund projects regarding digitisation or availability of their already digitised content. The European Commission has a range of specific funding programs devoted to access, use and preservation of digital cultural heritage, so libraries and other “cultural institutions” holding European heritage are the natural applicants for this kind of calls. Sometimes, however, they do not know how to apply and fully understand the advantages and commitments involved. This paper aims to help libraries to understand European funding programs.


The paper has complementary experience with respect to applications and participation in EU‐funded projects, as well as the evaluation of proposals and the reviewing of approved projects. Apart from the lessons drawn from the personal experiences of the paper, the content is based on the most recent documentation and information about the Call For Proposals (CFP) made available by the European Commission.


Competition among proposals for European funding in the context of Digital Libraries (DLs) has grown considerably over the last few years. Therefore, it is essential for potential applicants to ensure the quality of their proposal by matching its content to the objectives of the Call and meeting the relevant evaluation criteria. In addition, the scope of the proposal needs to be embedded within the long‐term research and management strategy of the institutions applying to ensure both a successful application procedure and maximum sustainability of the project.


Apart from the documentation offered by the European Commission and several public reports of consultancy firms, no previous papers have been published which provide an insight into the workflow of the submission and evaluation of proposals for European funding in the domain of Digital Libraries.



van Hooland, S., Vandooren, F. and Méndez Rodríguez, E.M. (2011), "Opportunities and risks for libraries in applying for European funding", The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 90-104.



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