About CDNL

CDNL is an independent association of chief executives of national libraries, established to facilitate discussion and promote understanding and cooperation on matters of common interest worldwide. CDNL meets annually, usually on the Wednesday of the week of the IFLA conference.The annual meeting is hosted by the National Library of the country which hosts the IFLA conference. The Chief Executive or Director of the national library of every country is a member of CDNL as of right. Members may be represented at the meeting by their deputies.

The Statutes and Rules of Procedure (revised August 2008)
CDNL Vision for the Global Digital Library

The world’s national libraries share a common mission of collecting, recording, organising, storing, preserving in perpetuity, and providing access to their nation’s cultural patrimony and intellectual output in documentary form.

CDNL's long-term vision is the development of a global distributed digital library - comprehensive, open, seamlessly-connected, and universally accessible on the internet - giving ready access to library materials in the collections of all the national libraries of the world in the interests of scholarly research, education and lifelong learning, innovation and economic development, and the promotion of international understanding.

A statement of the 'CDNL Vision for the Global Digital Library' was prepared in 2008 - a copy of the statement is available here CDNL Vision for the Global Digital Library.

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library (WDL, www.wdl.org ) has recently held its general assembly at the Library of Congress in Washington. This UNESCO initiative, led by the Library of Congress, offers a unique space for inter-cultural dialogue. With close to 10 000 items, 4 million visitors and an interface in 7 languages, WDL has reached a critical size and can be considered as a success story.  Encouraged by these results, WDL has set itself a challenge in terms of membership and content. WDL is working to count 500 members from around the world and reach a target of 100 000 items in its virtual collection. WDL also plans to develop a thematic approach and to enhance the user experience.  National libraries are treasure troves. This heritage in our custody reflects a true global cultural diversity. The digital age allows us to reach out to the world and to make a difference by providing different views and thus promoting inter-cultural communication.  The CDNL Executive is  convinced that national libraries could support the growth of WDL both through proposing digital items and recruiting partners at the national level from among research libraries, archives and museums and audiovisual institutions. We are all dedicated to UNESCO's ideals and principles. Taking part in WDL is a way to support the cause of culture and heritage. Therefore, I invite every member of CDNL to join WDL and for those already involved, to renew and extend their support to this endeavour.  WDL  is in line with CDNL vision for the  Global Digital Library
History of CDNL

CDNL was set up in 1974 to discuss policies and carry out activities that could be performed most effectively by national libraries, on the understanding that its work would be coordinated with the IFLA section of National Libraries. It grew from a rather loose organization in the late 1970's to a much more structured body in the 1990's. Under the presidency of Marianne Scott, the National Librarian of Canada, CDNL established its present statutes and rules of procedure, which gave the organization a much clearer and stronger foundation for its activities. The statutes were revised again in 2008, to allow countries to nominate additional non-voting representatives from organisations having a status equivalent to national libraries.
e-Legal Deposit

The most essential task of national libraries, the one which more than any other makes them what they are, is that they are responsible for acquiring, preserving and making accessible the publications (of all kinds) of the country.  Therefore it follows that legal deposit – the objective of which is to build a collection of the national literature – must be of fundamental importance for national libraries. In the digital age it is imperative that legal deposit extends to electronic publications. This will prevent a ‘digital black hole’ in the research archive and it will ensure the preservation of the memory of the 21st century. CDNL resources for e-legal deposit are available here.

Useful links:

La Asociación de Bibliotecas Nacionales de Iberoamérica (ABINIA)

The Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO)