Now ancient books, maps, and photos are just a click away
The World Digital Library is exactly what you would imagine: a collection of books, maps, texts, photos, recordings and films from all periods of recorded history, in seven different languages, that gathers together the cultural resources of every single major library on the planet.
As explained by Abdelaziz Abid, the coordinator of this UNESCO-promoted project that also involves another 32 institutions, it’s about heritage: the WDL presents documents “with heritage value, that will allow to appreciate and better know the cultures of the world in different languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese — and online in more than 50 languages.
“Among the oldest documents are some pre-Columbian codices, thanks to the contribution of Mexico, and the first maps of America, drawn by Diego Gutierrez for the King of Spain in 1562,” Abid explained.
The library includes, for instance, the Hyakumanto Darani, a Japanese document published in 764 and considered the first printed text of the story; the early works of most Arab scientists working on algebra; the Gutenberg Bible; and early Latin American photos originally stored in the National Library of Brazil.
The World Digital Library was officially presented at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris just a few days ago, and is now available online here. Access is completely free, and users do not need to register.