Planning a More Inclusive and Sustainable World Digital Library

The World Digital Library is a collaboration of over 160 libraries from 75 countries providing open access to world cultural heritage. Partners in Europe, North America, East Asia, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America have contributed 19,000 rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and recordings.

Launched in 2009 the World Digital Library (WDL) is the most inclusive existing digital library of cultural heritage materials, including cultural treasures from seventy countries, and is the product of national and regional libraries from the Global North and South. As of May 2018, the site contained more than 19,000 rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints and photographs, films, and sound recordings contributed by 158 libraries, archives and museums in 60 countries. Approximately 1.1 million pages of content, in 145 languages, are accessible on the site. As of May 2018 the total number of visitors to the site since it was launched was nearly 55 million. Visitors come from every country in the world.

In 2018 and 2019, the Center for Research Libraries is coordinating a major planning effort to map the next, critical phase of the WDL, intended to widen its scope and reach and ensure the WDL is a self-sustaining endeavor with an wide base of support. The planning process will bring together an inclusive set of stakeholder organizations from the Global North, South, East and West to frame a bold new vision for the WDL and a plan to achieve it.

Project Details


Location: United States, Northern America, Americas Organiser(s): Center for Research Libraries Project partner(s): Center for Research Libraries, World Digital Library Funder(s): Whiting Foundation Funding received: $10,000 Commencement Date: 09/2014 Project Status: Completed
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