By ERIN ALLEN
The announcement of the Oct. 18 signing of an agreement between the Library and UNESCO to build a World Digital Library (WDL) Web site garnered press attention following the 34th Annual UNESCO General Conference meeting in Paris. (See story on page 250.)
In a story in The Washington Post, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said the site “has an enormous educational potential” and the content is being designed particularly with children in mind. “It has the capacity to both inspire respect for other cultures and their histories and stories, but at the same time to establish critical thinking,” he added.
Washington Post foreign service reporter John Ward Anderson said that “the United States has often been criticized, particularly here in France and in the developing world, for its dominance of the Internet and for the global spread of its culture.” But, according to WDL officials, the project is an example of how the United States could use its vast resources to bridge those differences.
His story also ran in The Charlotte Observer, The Kansas City Star, The San Diego Union Tribune, The Indianapolis Star, The Sacramento Bee, The Tampa Tribune, the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and The Sunday Oregonian.
Doreen Carvajal of The New York Times noted that European libraries were developing their own digital collections, not part of the WDL. The European Digital Library will release its prototype next year, and the French National Library has already developed a test project, Europeana.
The Associated Press ran a story about the WDL, which was picked up by the International Herald Tribune, The Independent in London, msnbc.com and yahoo.com.
Also running stories were Reuters, Roll Call, Agence France-Presse, Arabia 2000, The Press Trust of India, The Statesman in India, Le Monde, Spanish news agency EFE, ITAR/TASS, El Moudjahid, Europa Press, Belgian media RTL, Government Computer News, Library Journal, the National Post in Canada, The Post-Tribune in Indiana and web sites sawfnews.com, gadsdentimes.com of the Gadsden Times in Alabama, TheBookStandard.com, inquirer.net and UNESCO.org.
News of the WDL was also posted on the following blogs: Stevie Wonder’s Personal Blog, Global Strategy Institute, Library Too, Edward Bilodeau’s Weblog, LISNews.org, Open Access News, UNESCO in the Spotlight: Education and Culture, I am IM: 21st Century Information Management, TeleRead, Newser, The Zaca, Vituperation Toxicity, Life in Style, mbf tod@y, Scoop, Confessions of a Technophile and Web Metrics Guru.
An Oct. 24 story in The Washington Post titled “Materials Missing At Library of Congress” appeared the day before a congressional oversight hearing on Library operations and inventory management. The story referred to a survey by the Library’s inspector general (IG), which found 17 percent of items requested to be “not-on-the shelf” (NOS is a Library term that is not synonymous with “missing”).
At the hearing, Library managers refuted the Post article as an incorrect interpretation of the inspector general’s report, and noted the story’s failure to mention the IG’s conclusion that “further audit work on this project is not necessary at this time.”
The Washington Post story was picked up by a number of other outlets including UPI, DCist and Seattlepi.com. The Post wrote a follow-up story that covered the hearing but did not address original inaccuracies. Seattlepi.com also ran a second story, which carried the Library’s response as reported in the Library’s staff newsletter, The Gazette. The article by Gazette editor Gail Fineberg is posted on the Library’s blog.
Erin Allen is a writer-editor in the Library’s Public Affairs Office.