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World digital library construction under way
United States and United Nations officials signed an agreement Oct. 17 to cooperate in building a World Digital Library Web site. Officials said the site could be available to the public in late 2008.

Librarian of Congress James Billington proposed the WDL in 2005 after Google donated $3 million for the effort. The Web library will offer digitized versions of materials from around the world at no charge. The collected materials will include manuscripts, maps, books, musical scores, sound recordings, films, prints and photographs.

Under the agreement signed by Billington and Abdul Waheed Khan, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s assistant director for communication and information, the Library of Congress and UNESCO will cooperate in developing guidelines and technical specifications for the project, enlist new partners and secure additional funding.

The two organizations — in conjunction with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina of Alexandria, Egypt; the National Library of Brazil; the National Library of Egypt; the National Library of Russia; and the Russian State Library — developed a test project that they are demonstrating at the UNESCO General Conference.

The test library supports seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese.

AsusTek to compete with MIT’s $100 laptop
AsusTek Computer has introduced the Eee PC, an ultraportable laptop PC for less than $300. The price puts the Eee squarely in competition with the XO-1 — the $100 laptop developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and marketed by the One Laptop Per Child project.

Read more technology news on Government Computer News’ Web site at www.gcn.com.

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In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

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