23 April 2009

World Digital Library launches

The World Digital Library website is now active. It is a partnership of the Library of Congress, Unesco and 32 partner institutions.

The site - www.wdl.org ― offers free public access to manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, prints and photographs.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington first proposed the creation of the WDL to UNESCO in 2005. At the time, he said, such a project would bring people together by "celebrating the depth and uniqueness of different cultures in a single global undertaking."

Others at the launch said the project will help bridge the knowledge divide, promote mutual understanding and encourage cultural and linguistic diversity. WDL functions in seven languages ― Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish ― with content in more than 40 languages.

Users may browse and search across the site which includes descriptions of each item and videos, expert curators speaking about items and providing context.

WDL was developed by a Library of Congress team, with technical assistance by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina of Alexandria, Egypt. Contributing institutions include national libraries, cultural and educational institutions in Brazil, Egypt, China, France, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, the UK and the US.

Read the complete press release. Visit the WDL site, the LOC and the interactive website MyLOC.gov.

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