Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free "World Digital Library" launches today

Launching today, a new resource of the world's greatest treasures made available to all, introducing the WORLD DIGITAL LIBRARY:


Still in its infancy yet soon to grow exponentially (along the lines of Wikipedia entries and Google searches, both of which it seems to combine), the WDL connections on Buddhism is diverse but sparse.

It works like this: Sponsored by UNESCO, the WDL seeks to put all the world's libraries at the tip of WWW users' fingers.
What is it?
(October 2007) -- UNESCO and the US Library of Congress will join forces to build a World Digital Library, following the signing of an agreement by Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, and the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

The World Digital Library initiative will digitize unique and rare materials from libraries and other cultural institutions around the world and make them available free of charge on the Internet. These materials include manuscripts, maps, books, musical scores, sound recordings, films, prints, and photographs....The prototype was developed by the Library of Congress and UNESCO with five other partner institutions: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the National Library of Egypt, the National Library of Brazil, the National Library of Russia, and the Russian State Library.

The prototype functions in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, the six official languages of the United Nations, as well as in Portuguese.

It features search and browse by place, time, topic, and contributing institution. The World Digital Library initiative has been designed to promote international and inter-cultural understanding, increase the quality and diversity of cultural content on the internet, and contribute to education and scholarship.

Individuals and institutions in more than 40 countries and the IFLA have participated in working groups and expert meetings to plan the World Digital Library.

“Libraries are key actors for ensuring universal access to information and building knowledge societies,” said UNESCO Director-General, Ko├»chiro Matsuura. “We are very pleased to build on the excellent partnership that we have long enjoyed with the Library of Congress to work in innovative ways to preserve and make accessible the memory of the world.”

FREE-ACCESS: Library materials from around the globe free online
Huexotzinco Codex, 1531, documenting in pictographic language part of the testimony in a legal case against representatives of the colonial government in Mexico, ten years after the Spanish conquest in 1521 (Photo: Library of Congress).

(Guardian.co.uk) -- Libraries and archives from around the world have come together in a project to share their collections of rare books, maps, films, manuscripts and recordings online for free.

Almost four years in the making, the World Digital Library will launch on 21 April, 2009. It will function in seven languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. It will also include content in additional languages....
The brainchild of James Billington, from the US's Library of Congress, the project has been developed by Unesco and the Library of Congress, along with 32 other partners from around the world, including national libraries from Iraq, Egypt, Russia, Brazil, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda. More>>

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