Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

March 15, 2004

Library of Congress and National Library of Brazil Launch Joint Web Site Dedicated to U.S.-Brazil Interactions

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and President of the National Library of Brazil Foundation Pedro Correa do Lago have launched a collaborative Web site that explores the historical similarities and contrasts, ethnic diversity and interactions between Brazil and the United States.

"The United States and Brazil: Expanding Frontiers, Comparing Cultures" includes some 9,800 images from the rare book, manuscript, map, print and photographic collections of the Library of Congress and the National Library of Brazil. The site represents the first phase of a continuing project by the National Library of Brazil and the Library of Congress that is being carried out under a cooperative agreement signed by Billington and Correa a do Lago. The site can be accessed at http://international.loc.gov/intldl/brhtml/.

"The National Library of Brazil is one of the great libraries of the world, and I am excited that Brazil is now part of our Global Gateway collaborative digital initiative," which includes the Netherlands, Russia and Spain, with more nations to come, said Billington. "These bilingual multimedia Web sites are making it possible for the Library of Congress to share its resources with the world and for Americans to share in the library resources of other nations."

The Global gateway Web site of international collections and links to international Web sites is at http://international.loc.gov/.

The Brazil project focuses on five main themes related to the history of Brazil and its interactions with the United States: "Historical Foundations," "Ethnic Diversity," "Culture and Literature," "Mutual Impressions" and "Biodiversity."

Among the items available on the site are letters by Thomas Jefferson about Brazil's independence movement, illustrations of 19th century Brazil by French artist Jean Baptiste Debret, documents relating to the reigns of Emperors Pedro I and Pedro II, 18th century maps and the text of "O Guarani," Brazil's earliest heroic poem.

"The United States and Brazil: Expanding Frontiers, Comparing Cultures" is bilingual, in English and Portuguese, and is intended for use in schools and libraries and by the general public in both countries and around the world. The project grew out of a visit to Brazil in 1999 by Billington and subsequent discussions between the two national libraries about the numerous parallels in the histories of the two largest countries in the Americas. Support for the project was provided by the Vitae Foundation of Sao Paulo, Brazil, directed by José Mindlin, and the Library of Congress.

"The United States and Brazil" is part of the Library's Global Gateway initiative of digital library collaborations with leading libraries and cultural institutions from around the world. Other Global Gateway projects are planned with libraries in Egypt, France and Japan.

The Library of Congress, founded April 24, 1800, is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. It preserves a collection of more than 128 million items - more than two-thirds of which are in media other than books. These include the largest map, film and television collections in the world. In addition to its primary mission of serving the research needs of the U.S. Congress, the Library serves all Americans through its popular Web site (www.loc.gov) and in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill.

The National Library of Brazil is the largest in Latin America. It was founded in 1808 with the collections of the Portuguese Royal Library. It preserves a collection of approximately 9 million items, including books, stamps, illustrations, manuscripts, maps and audiovisual materials. Its Web site is at www.bn.br.

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PR 04-056
03/15/04
ISSN 0731-3527

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