The Library of Congress has been working towards digital preservation for 15 years, starting with the prescient American Memory collection. This proposal for a World Digital Library builds on the effort of the last five years to launch bilnigual, binational digitization projects with other countries; Russia, Brazil, Spain, France and the Netherlands along with the U.S. have made material available for any user. A more recent agreement between the LoC and the Library of Egypt, descendant of the grand library of Alexandria, enhances the global; potential to preserve and share material across the world. The idea, as James H. Billington, librarian of Congress, explains it: “to harness technology to bring scattered primary materials of the varied cultures into consolidated Web sites for each culture … created primarily with and by the people of the respective regions.”
Google, which has its own fascination with digitizing libraries, is the first donor with $3 million; other donors for the public-private project are being sought.