Search   |    Back Issues   |    Author Index   |    Title Index   |    Contents

Featured Collection


D-Lib Magazine
December 2005

Volume 11 Number 12

ISSN 1082-9873

Global Gateway: World Culture & Resources

Library of Congress

Collage from the Library of Congress

Collage from the Library of Congress presentation, "The Spanish-American War" (Library of Congress)

On November 22, the Library of Congress announced the launch of its effort to create a World Digital Library (WDL) that will make international cultural digital resources available via the Internet worldwide. The WDL will be funded by public and private partnerships, and the launch of the WDL effort has been made possible by the donation of $3 million by the Library of Congress' first private partner, Google. The WDL is an ambitious, exciting and significant effort that in the words of Librarian of Congress, James Billington, "could well have the salutary effect of bringing people together by celebrating the depth and uniqueness of different cultures in a single global undertaking."

The World Digital Library is still in the early planning and development stages, but the Library of Congress has a long history of collecting and making available information resources from throughout the world. In fact, more than half of the books and periodicals in the Library of Congress are in languages other than English. While most of these are in non-digital format, the Library of Congress has also been a pioneer in building large-scale digital library collections of resources that have been digitized – or those that were "born digital" – from its own collections as well as from other digital library collections in the USA and around the world. This month, D-Lib Magazine features the Library of Congress Global Gateway, which provides access to many of these digital collections.

Image from web page About the International Collections

Image from the web page "About the International Collections" (Library of Congress).

The Global Gateway was launched in 2000. At the top-level Global Gateway web page, one finds a link to "Collaborative Digital Libraries," which makes available digital cultural resources from France, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and Brazil. These resources are available as a result of cooperative efforts between the Library of Congress and the Bibliothèque nationale de France; the National Library of the Netherlands; the Russian State Library, the National Library of Russia, and other libraries located in Siberia; the National Library of Spain; and the National Library of Brazil. The collections are presented bilingually and include multiple types of digital media.

Image from one of the Library of Congress international resources web pages

Image from the web page "The South Asian Literaray Recordings Project" (Library of Congress New Delhi Office).

Another link from the Global Gateway web page leads to "Individual Digital Collections," described as "a listing of searchable Library of Congress digital collections with a focus on history & cultures from around the world." A total of nineteen collections are organized under the headings: "International Collections," "Collections from American Memory, National Digital Library" and "Collections from Prints & Photographs Online Catalog."

Also on the top-level Global Gateway page, eight additional links to databases and resources are provided, leading to digital content of an international nature such as, "Centers for International Research," "International Exhibitions," "Portals to the World," "International Cybercasts," and others. Clicking on any of these links, will take you to additional lists of links, enabling you to drill down to specific areas of interest.

Exploring the Global Gateway is much more fun than merely reading about it. You can begin by selecting any of the sections to which hyperlinks are provided above, or begin at the Global Gateway home page. The URL for the Library of Congress Global Gateway is

By Bonita Wilson
Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Copyright© 2005 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Top | Contents | Home