Thursday, July 9, 2009

The UN's World Digital Library

Four years ago James Billlington, U.S. Librarian of Congress wanted to share cultural and educational data from the Library of Congress with anyone who had access to the Internet. On April 21, 2009, UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Library of Congress unveiled the World Digital Library, a collection of 1,200 high-resolution digitized files that allows users to zoom in on ancient documents and archival photographs.

Resources may be searched by keywords, time period, place, type of item and the institution that contributed the data. Descriptions are given for the materials in seven languages while the documents are shown in their original languages. Currently there are books, journals, documents, photographs, audio and videos. There are currently 457 maps in the World Digital Library and I hope there are plans to continue adding cultural and educational data to this digital library.

Students and teachers can find interesting items like the first printed edition of a 16th-century Japanese novel called The Tale of Genji; a journal by Ferdinand Magellan kept from his voyage around the world; a panoramic view of Constantinople; to an early recording of Marseillaise, the national anthem of France.

To check out the new World Digital Library please click here or go to:

There are many ways that teachers and students could utilize this information to make learning more engaging and real world.

Article from Time Magazine April 22, 2009,8599,1892916,00.html

Image from the World Digital Library


Greg Gilliam said...

As a Fifth Grade teacher I am very excited about the number of primary source documents that are now available online.

In addition to the UN's World Digital Library, The Library of Congress and each state's archive have begun posting their collections. The collections are being called [state's name] Memory. One of the best of these is Virginia Memory found at

I have found that using primary source documents makes history come more alive for students. For example, insteads of reading about colonial life why not read the Will of a colonist.

Shototech said...

Thank you for sharing this information. I would like to update my post with your information.

Have a great summer !!

Shototech said...

The Virginia Memory site looks great but I was unable to find North Carolina's site. Do you know how many states are participating in this initiative?