The European Library (TEL) was launched by the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) in 2004 as the union catalogue of European national libraries and has since become a web portal and open data hub for national library data in Europe. Its success led to the Commission asking CENL to set up what became Europeana. The European Library has disseminated library data in a variety of ways to promote its wider use. TEL has been the biggest provider to Europeana, a digital platform for cultural heritage funded by the European Commission, bringing in more than 11 million records from European libraries. Access to this data will continue through Europeana.
The decision to no longer contribute to the collective subscription model for TEL was made by CENL at its Annual General Meeting in Bern in 2015, and a review of alternative service models followed. The review recommended that TEL services should be concluded by the end of 2016.