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Check Out the World Digital Library



From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

Imagine you are a student in Mexico. And your teacher asks you to write a report about the country's ancient Aztec civilization. You now can do your own research on the subject through the World Digital Library, or WDL. One of the 8,000 items listed on this website is the General History of the Things of New Spain. It was written in the 16th century by a member of a Roman Catholic religious order.

Friar Bernardino Sahagun lived in what is now Mexico. He liked many qualities of the Aztecs and wrote 13 books about them in Spanish and Nahuatl, the Aztec language. The books are stored in Florence, Italy. But you can read every page and see every picture with the World Digital Library. The library has at least one item from every member country of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO. UNESCO and the U.S. Library of Congress launched the WDL in 2009. Since then, more than 25 million people have visited part of the collection. The library provides free access to thousands of objects of cultural and historical importance.

The library is looking for information about Arabic and Islamic science, says Musa Murawih. He is a WDL researcher who works on all of the library's documents in Arabic. Arab countries and their libraries are strong supporters of the World Digital Library. Mr. Murawih says the library shows the United States as a partner with Arab countries in an area other than military or security matters.The library also is helping countries make electronic copies of their documents, so that they are available to computer users around the world.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.