Press contact: Jennifer Gavin, Library of Congress (202) 707-1940
Public contact: John Van Oudenaren, World Digital Library, (202) 707-4543
March 6, 2014
World Digital Library Reaches Milestone as 10,000 Items Now Accessible
Crosses Threshold With Rare Collection from Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum
The World Digital Library (www.wdl.org), a collaborative international project led by the Library of Congress, now includes more than 10,000 manuscripts, maps and atlases, books, prints and photographs, films, sound recordings, and other cultural treasures. The 10,000-item milestone was reached earlier today with the addition of a set of priceless manuscripts from the Walters Art Museum of Baltimore, Maryland, a WDL partner since 2010.
The latest contributions include an early 16th-century Gospel manuscript from Ethiopia, written in Amharic and in Geez, the ancient liturgical language of Ethiopia (www.wdl.org/13019); a manuscript containing a richly illuminated Ottonian Gospel book fragment believed to have been made at the monastery of Corvey in western Germany during the mid-to-late 10th century (www.wdl.org/13017); and a menologion, or church calendar, in Greek, created in Byzantium circa 1025-1041 (www.wdl.org/13008).
Other items recently added to the WDL include block-print books from the Song Dynasty in China, Islamic manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish, early 20th-century historical documents from the archives of the League of Nations, and codices that once belonged to the legendary library of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary.
With the latest additions, the WDL includes 10,037 rare and unique items, comprising nearly 500,000 images. Content contributed by 102 institutions in 46 countries is on the WDL site, which can be accessed in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
"We are honored to be working with our WDL partner libraries, museums, and archives to bring this historically important and stunningly beautiful content to our global audience," said James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. "This project is of enormous benefit to students, teachers, scholars, and lifelong learners, and I am gratified to see that it continues to grow."
"For the last 10 years, the Walters has been a leader in the museum field in offering digitized images of works in our collection to the world for free," said Julia Marciari-Alexander, executive director of the Walters Art Museum. "Being a part of this historic project is a terrific way to make some of our most significant treasures available alongside those of other great museums, libraries, and archives around the world."
Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Walters Art Museum continues to digitize its world-class manuscript collection. The Walters collection can also be directly accessed on the museum’s website, www.thewalters.org(external link), and www.thedigitalwalters.org(external link).
Proposed by the Librarian of Congress and launched in 2009, the World Digital Library makes significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world freely available on www.wdl.org. The principal financial supporters of the WDL are Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Qatar National Library of the Qatar Foundation, and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
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