Thursday, April 09, 2009

Free-access World Digital Library set to launch
Primary materials from libraries around the globe to be made available for free online

Alison Flood ,, Wednesday 8 April 2009

The 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. Photograph: Library of Congress

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, functioning in seven languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish – and including content in additional languages. A prototype of what will be on offer includes a voice recording of the 101-year-old grandson of an American slave, a 17th-century map of the world and 19th-century Brazilian photographs.
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.
Alison Flood's full report here.

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