You need Macromedia Flash Player version 8 or higher to see the website.

The World Digital Library

What is the World Digital Library?
This project was Initiated by the Library of Congress, for the aim of creating a World Digital Library that avails significant primary materials from cultures around the world on the Internet. The materials including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials. These materials are accessible free of charge and in multilingual format.

The objectives of the World Digital Library are to promote international and inter-cultural understanding and awareness, to provide resources to educators, to expand non-English and non-Western content on the Internet, and to contribute to scholarly research.

The Launch of the World Digital Library
In April 2009, the World Digital Library was launched at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. As one of the five institutional founders, the BA was acknowledged in the official report issued by the UNESCO for its technical assistance in designing and implementing the architecture of the WDL and contributing with its particular expertise in the search and display of Arabic texts. In addition to the BA’s technical assistance in designing and implementing the architecture of the WDL and its contribution to the search and display of Arabic texts, Bibliotheca Alexandrina contributed to the project by enriching its content with a digitized copy of the valuable, Description de l’Egypte.

The BA is currently co-chairing the Technical Architecture Working Group (TAWG) that is mainly created to attend to the prospectus for the WDL and the technical relevant issues.


On 11 May 2006, the Library of Congress and Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding by which the Bibliotheca Alexandrina agreed to play a part in the planning for a World Digital Library and to contribute some of its own collections to the project. They also agreed to exchange information and ideas on issues such as standards, selection and presentation of content, multilingualism, and system architecture.

BA was invited to an expert meeting in December 2006 for building a prototype. The prototype was launched in October 2007 at the General Assembly of the UNESCO. The Library of Congress and UNESCO with five other partner institutions: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the National Library of Egypt, the National Library of Brazil, the National Library of Russia, and the Russian State Library have cooperated to create this prototype, which is in seven languages and contains books, charts, manuscripts, reproductions and photographs of films as well as sound recordings of various cultures.

April 2007 witnessed the signing of an agreement outlining four areas in which the two institutions will cooperate in building a World Digital Library, namely:

  • Contribution of content to the World Digital Library, along with other libraries and cultural institutions from around the world.
  • The design and implementation of the architecture of the World Digital Library.
  • The design and implementation of the database, search engine and interface for the project.
  • The Bibliotheca Alexandrina's contribution of its particular expertise in the search and display of Arabic texts.

Have a look at the video on YouTube!


Last updated on 03 Oct 2013