April 27, 2009

World Digital Library Brings History to your Computer Screen

The World Digital Library , a free resource intended to make “available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world” was released this month.

Sponsored by UNESCO and compiled with the help of libraries and other institutions around the world, it is an amazing resource for history lovers. The collection is rich with maps, photographs, documents and even complete books, each easily manipulated by your computer mouse to view close-ups (use your scroll wheel) and change location on a page. Resources are in many languages from a variety of eras and are arranged by world region from which they come. Many have never before been seen in accessible digital format.

Here are a few samples of what you can find. Click on the links in the caption to view the WDL entry. (Use the zoom tool to see amazing details!):

Extract from a Russian missionary to Alaska’s translation of the Gospel of Matthew into the Aleut-Fox language.








Illustration from a handwritten journal describing a Swedish vessel’s journey to Canton Guangzhou) (1740s).


















Portion of a map of Africa (1820)



















Submitted by Bill Badke

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