Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Zeroes and ones

After a long gestation, in partnership with the United States Library of Congress, UNESCO recently launched the World Digital Library. Its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the web, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and among countries. It aims to expand non-English and non-Western content on the web, and contribute to scholarly research.

The library intends to make available on the web, 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. At launch, the library held 1,170 items, and the interface is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

That all sounds worthwhile, doesn't it? One of the good things about this site is that the available documents are accompanied by descriptions that place them in their historical and cultural context. I also like the user friendly interface.

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