Wikipedia it ain’t, and there’s a lot more to choose from on YouTube and the Library of Congress itself, not to mention on the stupendous archive.org.
Suffrage Parade, New York City, May 6, 1912 But the World Digital Library, with its inherently ambitious scope, could give a lot of our go-to information storehouses a run for their money. And it seems to be specializing in historic and far-flung PRIMARY materials.
So no early episodes of M*A*S*H or coding for Pac-Man. But you will find ancient materials from places around the world that don’t often get a spot at the front of the line at your local search engine.
History buffs can browse for days. Want a 19th century map of the River Jordan and the Dead Sea? It’s there. An 1868 map of a journey to Musardu, the capital of the Western Mandingoes? It’s there too. So are copious historic journals, books and manuscripts.
More and more entities with information to share are signing up. In late October, for example, the Government College University in Lahore, Pakistan, became that nation’s first school to join in.
It’s an effort of UNESCO, hosted by the Library of Congress.
The site, established earlier this year, doesn’t have tons of material, but it is arranged for easy access in multiple categories. You can search by place, or era, or media form (map, manuscript, movie, etc.). Selected materials quickly expand into large images for viewing.
There’s not a lot of historic video–mostly films from Edison-era craftstmen. But there is modern video to accompany and explain many of the historic materials.
But because of its POTENTIAL to be a truly important resource for world scholarship, and to bring obscure pieces of humanity’s shared heritage into one place for posterity, the World Digital Library is the Government Video Website of the Week.
Check out last week’s Website of the Week, where the National Hurricane Center gets storm info where its needed.
Got a great government Website? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And follow Government Video on Twitter: twitter.com/governmentvideo.