Making Our Literary and Historical Heritage Available Online

One item that caught my eye in the news today was that UNESCO has just opened the World Digital Library, the first online, international, book depository.

The project, which launched today in Paris, “draws material from more than 30 national libraries and other institutions from around the world, joins a growing number of programs that have set out to digitally archive cultural material,” as The New York Times reported.

While the archive is far from complete, day one does offer up quite a range of stuff, from an 1859 German language map entitled “Emigrant’s Map and Guide for Routes to North America,” to a 1724 reprint of the 1690 map of “The Kingdom of France.

The archive offers all materials in the six UN languages, plus Portuguese.

So far, quite a range of countries and their national libraries and cultural institutions have contributed to the WDL, including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, Egypt, USA, France, Japan, UK and Russia, adds Le Monde.

One can only hope that more and more of these materials that have been kept in dusty archives for so long can now be only a few keystrokes away.

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