Library of Congress, UNESCO Launching World Digital Library

The new Web site will be available unrestricted and free of charge to the public.
Publish date:
Updated on

The World Digital Library is coming online April 21, featuring unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, and prints and photographs.

Launched by the Library of Congress, UNESCO and 32 partner institutions, the new Web site will be available unrestricted and free of charge to the public. It will be browseable and searchable and will function in seven languages, offering content in dozens more.

The launch will take place at a reception at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters co-hosted by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura and the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington.

Billington first proposed the creation of a World Digital Library (WDL) to UNESCO in 2005, remarking that such a project could "have the salutary effect of bringing people together by celebrating the depth and uniqueness of different cultures in a single global undertaking." In addition to promoting international understanding, the project aims to expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and narrow the digital divide within and between countries by building capacity in partner countries.

Library of Congress


Library of Congress Hits YouTube

The steward of the world’s largest collection of audiovisual materials (some 6 million films, broadcasts and sound recordings) has made its own YouTube channel public.