Friday, December 01, 2006

UNESCO and US Library of Congress Host Meeting on World Digital Library Project

UNESCO and the Library of Congress will host today at UNESCO Paris Headquarters a meeting to pave the way for the launch of a World Digital Library, an internet-based repository of knowledge from all cultures and in all languages. The meeting will seek to establish a network of experts and partners who will work on the project. It is hosted by UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Abdul Waheed Khan, U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO Louise Oliver, and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who first proposed the idea for a World Digital Library in 2005. It will be chaired by Claudia Lux, President-elect of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

“Making all this available free of charge on the Internet will give teachers and librarians a new resource to encourage young people to reads and study foreign languages, and will advance learning both with and between countries”, said Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States of America, and Honorary Ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade, in a message to the meeting.
“I am pleased UNESCO, the United States and other partners continue moving forward on this important initiative,” said UNESCO Director-General Ko├»chiro Matsuura. “We must encourage all Member States to pool efforts at all levels to protect unique and endangered books, manuscripts, archival documents and audio-visual materials through the use of state-of-the art technologies,” added Mr Matsuura.
A key aspect of the project is to build digital library capabilities in the developing world, so that all countries and parts of the world can participate and be represented in the World Digital Library.
“For UNESCO, libraries – be they paper-based or digital – have always played a crucial role to fulfill its mandate to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image and to maintain, increase and spread knowledge”, said Abdul Waheed Khan announcing UNESCO’s support to the initiative.
Related links
*Proposal for a World Digital Library. James H. Billington. The Librarian of Congress. Remarks to the Plenary Session. The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. Georgetown University. 6 June 2005
* U.S. Mission to UNESCO
* UNESCO Supports Libraries
* World Digital Library Initiative Factsheet
* Should UNESCO Promote the Development of a World Digital Library?
* World Digital Library Planned: Library of Congress Envisions Collection to Bridge Cultures

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