I've been trying to get to the bottom of what is really envisaged with the EDL project. There seem to be a large number of overlapping or sub-setting activities going on (i2020, EDL and EDLNet, TEL, DELOS etc.), and what you read in one part sometimes seems to contradict what you see elsewhere. There's a bit written in various places about the digitisation and preservation aspects of EDL, but I've had trouble understanding the degree of centralisation that is planned for the access side (will it be a central repository of metadata or a more distributed approach?)Anyway, this FAQs page FAQs page seems to answer some of this, although it's very broad and I'm still unclear on the architecture - if any.
A couple of relevant quotes:
"The Commission is promoting and co-ordinating work to build a common European 'digital library', by which we mean a common multilingual access point to Europe’s cultural heritage."
"Technology is moving fast and there are potentially many different ways of creating virtual European libraries. We should not aim at one single site or structure, but combine efforts in all the countries. What matters is to integrate access. This does not mean that the libraries or digital collections should be merged in a single database or library." [but is there one service behind it all? Or are we talking distributed search?]
"The needs of the users should be central. Developments will be demand-driven, but it is important to take a longer term and visionary view of what the user will get from the library in the way of services. Different users will have different needs and uses: One can imagine researchers wanting annotation tools; other users may wish to develop their family histories and genealogies using the materials in historical community archives." [but who is going to be able to do this development? I want to be able to point to my own sites at EDL and use its searching power and language tools to build my own applications on, which might include UGC or whatever; it would be less satisfactory to have to depend on them to build any such tools. In other words, I would want an API]
I'm still looking for clarity, then, and I've written to find out more. EDL should be fantastic, but the more open it is the more fantastic it will be, and I think that institutions will be keener to provide material if they can then hook into the back-end and really make something of it. That can only foster innovation. Fingers crossed