UNESCO launch the World Digital Library

The World Digital Library (WDL) is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the American Library of Congress.

The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

It aims to expand non-English and non-western content on the Internet, and contribute to scholarly research. The library intends to make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials.

As of launch, the library has 1,170 items, and the interface is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Partners in the World Digital Library project include:

  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • Brown University Library
  • Center for the Study of the History of Mexico
  • Central Library, Qatar Foundation
  • Columbus Memorial Library
  • Egyptian National Library and Archives
  • Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia
  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
  • Iraq National Library and Archive
  • John Carter Brown Library
  • King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • Library of Congress
  • Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Central Library[17]
  • National Diet Library
  • National Library of Brazil
  • National Library of China
  • National Library of France
  • National Library of Israel
  • National Library of Russia
  • National Library of Serbia
  • National Library of Sweden
  • National Library of Uganda
  • Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies
  • Russian State Library
  • St. Mark Coptic Library
  • Tetouan-Asmir Association
  • University Library in Bratislava
  • University of Pretoria Library
  • Wellcome Library
  • Yale University Library
  • Yeltsin Presidential Library


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