The Library of Congress just launched a new website in partnership with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as well as 32 other partners. You can read the official statement here and I’ll quote a few interesting and exciting passages below.
Paris, Washington D.C.—The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and 32 partner institutions today launched the World Digital Library, a website that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world. The site―located at www.wdl.org―includes manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, prints and photographs. It provides unrestricted public access, free of charge, to this material.
The World Digital Library functions in seven languages―Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish―and includes content in more than 40 languages. Browse and search features facilitate cross-cultural and cross-temporal exploration on the site. Descriptions of each item and videos, with expert curators speaking about selected items, provide context for users and are intended to spark curiosity and encourage both students and the general public to learn more about the cultural heritage of all countries.
One of UNESCO’s main mandates is to promote the free flow of all forms of knowledge in education, science, culture and communication. The organization therefore promotes education, research and exchanges through the improved and increased availability of content on the Internet. To this end, it collaborates with a number of partners on the creation of digital and other repositories.
It’s a really great site that just got off the ground and I’m really looking forward to whatever else they add to it.