The World Digital Library Initiative

At the Library of Congress’s World Digital Library (WDL) initiative, they have a vision—to create a digital library from the world’s major cultures.  Keynoter John Van Oudenaren stressed that this is NOT a mass book digitization project, but one to promote international and intercultural understanding and awareness, provide resources for educators to match the needs of a globalized wireless world, acquire rare and unique content of interest to scholars and the general public.  Its partners are UNESCO, national libraries and other cultural institutions, and the technology community.  

Expecting to launch in September 2008, the WDL has an ambitious plan for acquiring content and constructing a sustainable international network.  The website will be designed to appeal to the new generation of Internet users, and it will feature multilingual content and searching capabilities, which is a highly complex undertaking.  Some other features include:

  • A high quality, fast, and seamless user experience
  • The ability to search and browse a large volume of content
  • Content in multiple formats
  • Educational content for teachers and students
  • Social networking features
  • Adjustments for developing-country conditions with low bandwidth infrastructures
  • Mobile device solutions

 See Jane Dysart’s post below for a link to the great video that John showed at the conclusion of his talk.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and CIL 2007 Blog Coordinator

One Response to “The World Digital Library Initiative”

  1. Victor April 18, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    Enjoyed reading your post. But while The WDL Initiative is noble in its goals, numerous web sites are already attempting to do this.

    Internet Archive is probably the best example of this. It is located at http://www.archive.org/

    We have tried to do the same at our own site at Bookyards ( http://www.bookyards.com ) where we have compiled a good collection of free digital libraries with books and cultural resources available for downloading for free. Just go to Bookyards “Library Collections – E Books” at http://www.bookyards.com/links.html?type=links&category_id=1780
    There are approximately 550 digital libraries separated alphabetically and by category, with over 500,000 unique ebooks