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Library, UNESCO Will Create World Web Site

The Library of Congress will join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in creating a World Digital Library Web site that will make rare materials from various libraries and institutions available for free online sometime in late 2008 or early 2009.

The online library, which will function in a variety of languages, will feature rare documents and an extensive search engine. According to a press release from the Library of Congress, “The objectives of the World Digital Library include promoting international and intercultural understanding, increasing the quantity and diversity of cultural materials on the Internet, and contributing to education and scholarship.”

Billington and UNESCO Assistant Director Abdul Waheed Khan signed an agreement on Thursday that solidified the Library of Congress’ role in the new venture.

“We look forward to strengthening our collaboration with UNESCO as we work with current and future partners in this exciting enterprise to bring the cultural treasures of the world to the world,” said Librarian of Congress James Billington.

A prototype of the World Digital Library has been created by the Library of Congress; UNESCO; the Bibliotheca Alexandrina of Alexandria, Egypt; the National Library of Brazil; the National Library of Egypt; the National Library of Russia; and the Russian State Library.

Video Project Donates Interviews to Library

An extensive collection of videotaped interviews given by prominent black Americans recently was donated to the Library of Congress to be housed in the American Folklife Center.

The National Visionary Leadership Project donated more than 200 original interview tapes to act as the seed of a collection that the Library of Congress hopes to grow through the years.

“The stories and wisdom of these extraordinary elders are an invaluable legacy for all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity,” said Renee Poussaint, NVLP co-founder and CEO.

NVLP also partnered with the American Folklife Center to host the fourth annual “Intergenerational Summit on the State of Black America,” which took place in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress on Tuesday. The event honored several prominent black Americans with the NVLP Wisdom Award. This year’s honorees included House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Derrick A. Bell Jr., the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School, among others.

— Alison McSherry

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