First, we’re now highlighting the new World Digital Library partnership in our featured “marquee” at the top of the page. The WDL partnership among the Library, UNESCO and organizations and institutions around the world brings together on a single website rare and unique documents — books, journals, manuscripts, maps, prints and photographs, films, and sound recordings — that tell the story of the world’s cultures.
The WDL website premiered last month in Paris to huge acclaim, and the site operates in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Writes Edward Cody in The Washington Post:
Users can sort through the information in several ways. They can ask what was going on anywhere in the world in, say, science or literature during the 4th century B.C., for instance. They can look up the history of a certain topic over the centuries in China alone, or in China and North America. By cross-referencing, a user can see how one area of the world compared with another at any given time.
Second, and perhaps even more helpful from a user standpoint, we’ve launched a new set of reference pages that are designed to make it easier to find the Library’s diverse and extensive online collections. The “Browse by Topic” pages bring you to the best of our digital holdings, browsing by broad subject areas such as Government & Law, Arts & Culture, and Sports & Leisure.
As our online collections have grown, so has the challenge of communicating the totality of materials available. Our site search has continued to improve (watch this space for more on that soon), but we also thought that a bird’s-eye view of our materials organized by topic would help people find the exact online material that they’re looking for.
Feel free to browse and tell us what you think. (h/t John Sayers)
And for our readers who have written to inquire whether I’ve disappeared, I assure you that reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.