Friday, April 24, 2009

The World Digital Cabinet

The U.N.’s World Digital Library has been reviewed by Time:

While the artifacts themselves are well-presented and engrossing, it's hard to see how this promising collection of primary sources can avoid competing with the likes of Google and Wikipedia …

This WDL is really more a cabinet of curiosities than a library. A search on “darwin” turns up nothing; “lincoln” turns up three items.

The 151 “books” in the library are interesting and include: A Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, and in Quest of a North-West Passage Between Asia & America, Performed in the Years 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1779; History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific Ocean; Declaration of Independence. In Congress, July 4, 1776, a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.; The Book of Urizen; The Special Features of French Antarctica, Otherwise Called America, and of Several Lands and Islands Discovered in Our Time; Apocalypse of Saint John; The New and Unknown World: or Description of America and the Southland; Description of Egypt: Antiquities, Descriptions; and The whole booke of Psalmes faithfully translated into English metre (the Bay Psalm Book is also available here).

Among the 124 “manuscripts” are: a Book of Hours; Bill of Rights; Constitution of the United States; Emancipation Proclamation; Jewish Antiquities; and Codex Gigas (from which the image below comes—although you’ll have a devil of a time getting to this page [577]).