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World Digital Library Serves Millions

From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

Name a website where you could find old pictures of camels carrying people to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and books about ancient Aztecs in Mexico? It is all found in the World Digital Library. Its collection is available on the Internet. The library has 8,000 items, from whole books to ancient writings to music and photographs. There are 170 partners in 79 countries sending material to the World Digital Library. Partners include national or university libraries, museums and other cultural organizations.

The librarian of the United States Congress, James Billington, launched the WDL in 2009. John Von Oudenaren is the director of the library. He says Mr. Billington wanted it to include materials that are both interesting and important. Every item is explained in the six official languages of the United Nations -- English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and also Portuguese. Since 2009, 25 million people have visited the website from 250 places. The greatest number is from Spanish-speaking countries.

John Von Oudenaren says users include schools, researchers and anyone interested. He was especially happy to hear from one teacher in New York City. She said it was wonderful to have a website that people around the world could find interesting and important items. Musa Murawih is a researcher for the WDL from Sudan. He works with all the materials that are in Arabic. Musa Murawih believes the library provides tools for understanding especially among Arabs, Muslims and the United States. Anyone may search the World Digital Library by subject, time period, kind of document or area of the world. The website is

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.

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