We wanted to verify that a large-scale digital library focused on the Middle East would be something that would be of interest to a wide variety users, what the technical challenges of building the library would be, how the DLME could help to combat looting and contribute to cultural heritage preservation, and how we could best partner with museums, libraries, archives, and government and private partners worldwide. The team reached out broadly and assembled the answers. And we were amazed with the results.
It’s never really wise to speak in absolutes when discussing opinion, but I think it’s safe to say that support for the Digital Library of the Middle East has been almost unanimous. What we heard was yes, the technology exists and can be deployed for this type of large scale digital library. Yes, users from advanced scholars to high school students are interested. Yes, this will make a significant contribution to the cultural record and to preservation. And yes, existing collections want to federate and become part of the effort. Challenges certainly exist, but nearly uniformly we heard endorsement for the idea, for its importance, and for its goals.
What was especially encouraging is that this response came from all constituents. It came from North