Wednesday, May 21, 2008


For the past several Years the Library of Congress has been busily digitizing its collection. a prime example of this effort is its American Memory project. Now they have moved on to the whole world. It will be called, fittingly, World Digital Library, which it will do in conjunction with Unesco modeled on its Memory project. The World Digital Library started two years ago with a $3 million grant from Google and technical assistance by Apple. Initially, five other libraries contributed material for the prototype, including the national libraries of Egypt, Brazil and Russia.
They are now wooing the other national collections as well as corporations to join in signing an agreement with Unesco to continue their effort. Towards this end they have developed a prototype to show what will be possible. It is searchable in seven languages, with video commentaries from curators alongside material that includes original maps, manuscripts, photographs and recordings. their goal is for the material to be accessible from personal computers, hand-held devices and some of the rugged, inexpensive laptops that are being developed for emerging markets. Look for its public debut next year.

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