“The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world.”

The WDL makes significant primary materials from 193 countries available for free on the internet. Their digital collections can be explored by:

  • Place

  • Time Period

  • Topic

  • Type of Item

  • Language, or

  • Institution

Researchers can select various filters to limit the search results, such as: first filter by time period, then place, then type of item, etc.

They also have world and country timelines, interactive maps, and themes in world history.

WDL is a multilingual site and can be navigated in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. “Content is chosen for its cultural and historical importance, with due regard to recognition of the achievements of all countries and cultures over a wide range of time periods.”

“Books, manuscripts, maps, and other primary materials on this site are not translated but presented in their original languages. More than 100 languages are represented on the WDL, including many lesser known and endangered languages.”



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