Washington, DC…Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has become a founding partner in the World Digital Library (WDL).
NARA will contribute digital versions of important documents from its collections to the WDL, which will be launched for the international public in early 2009. These documents include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War photographs, naturalization and immigration records of famous Americans, and photographs by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Lewis Hine. All of the images that NARA contributed to the World Digital Library are now available at (www.archives.gov/research/arc/topics/world-digital-library).
Proposed in 2005 by the Library of Congress in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the WDL will make available on the Internet significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world. The project’s goal is to promote international understanding and to provide a resource for use by students, teachers, and general audiences.
"We are pleased that our fellow Federal cultural institution, the National Archives, is joining the Library of Congress in the early stages of this project," said Billington. "NARA’s participation not only will ensure that the World Digital Library contains a full record of the American experience, but it also will encourage archives around the world to join with their counterparts from the library world in this important initiative."
"The mission of the National Archives is to make U.S. Government records widely accessible," said Weinstein. "The World Digital Library will be a valuable conduit for us to share some of our nation’s treasures with others around the world. We look forward to working with the Library of Congress on this important project."
In addition to NARA and the Library of Congress, the WDL project partners include cultural institutions from Brazil, China, Egypt, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and many other countries. Information about the WDL can be found at (www.worlddigitallibrary.org).
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest Federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits. In doing so, the institution helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. The Library serves the public, scholars, members of Congress and their staffs through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill. Many of the rich resources and treasures of the Library may also be accessed through its award-winning web site (www.loc.gov) and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized web site at (www.myLOC.gov).
The National Archives and Records Administration preserves, for the American people and their public servants, the records of our Federal Government. It ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. The National Archives (www.archives.gov) also promotes democracy, civic education, and historical understanding of our national experience.
Press contact: Matt Raymond, Library of Congress, (202) 707-2905; National Archives Public Affairs Staff (202) 357-5300.