Bibliotheca universalis will offer the major works and artefacts of the world cultural and scientific heritage and knowledge via multimedia technologies. It will foster the cross border dialogue and enhance services to end users.


The objective is to constitute from existing digitization programmes a large distributed virtual collection of the humankind's knowledge, available to a large public through networking.

Bibliotheca universalis should strengthen the role of libraries and improve availability at international level. The digitized resources include both the bibliographic records and the information content itself (text, graphics, still image, sound and video information). It will promote the large scale digitization of documents and encourage the definition and adoption of international standards.

Furthermore, it should demonstrate how digitization might improve long term preservation. It will also enable easy access to such documents.

The project will rely on major libraries, including national libraries, and will be extended to other countries than G7.

The works selected will be displayed in their original language, possibly in a multimedia environment. Specified documents would belong to the public domain.

In most countries, an important effort has been done, often for centuries, to preserve, describe and index the knowledge contents. More recently, many libraries and information centres started to digitize documents. Digitization is a first step towards the creation of multimedia databases. Precious manuscripts and literary works, music scores and sound recordings, photographs and motion pictures, can be highlighted by digital information.

Bibliotheca universalis should provide a practical framework for international cooperation. By making the most of existing initiatives, it should solve technical and administrative problems. Creating an open environment, it should attract a large participation beyond G7 countries.

It should develop new trends in sharing cultural and knowledge resources, giving the end user the opportunity of working in a friendly environment. It will address the needs of the general public, researchers, scholars and students.

Bibliotheca universalis provides the guidelines for a distributed multimedia information system. All the information bases, managed by local entities and national authorities in charge of digitizing and indexing of the contents, will be available to G7 countries and world citizens throughout existing and interoperable networks and simple terminals.