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European Union launches digital library

  • Story Highlights
  • New digital library contains EU documents dating back 60 years
  • All documents will be available free to the public
  • 12 million pages -- around 110,000 EU publications -- are available
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(CNN) -- The European Union has launched a digital library that offers documents dating to nearly 60 years ago, in 23 languages.

A way with words: new digital library "frees the EU tied to paper," said Leonard Orban.

A way with words: new digital library "frees the EU tied to paper," said Leonard Orban.

All documents ever edited on behalf of European Union institutions, agencies and other bodies will be available in the library, the organization said in a news release.

"The digital library frees the memory of the European Union tied to paper since its beginning," said Leonard Orban, the union's commissioner for multilingualism.

The electronic library is free to individuals, companies and libraries worldwide, which can download documents as PDF (Portable Document Format) files, Orban said. About 12 million pages -- roughly 110,000 EU publications -- are available for download, according to officials.

"The millions of pages now accessible to everyone in the 23 official languages demonstrate the continued commitment of the European Union to preserve and encourage the history of the union in its linguistic diversity," Orban said.

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In addition to appearing in official languages, some documents will be available in languages such as Chinese and Russian, the union said.

The digital library was launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany late last week.

The European Union comprises 27 member states and 23 official languages, determined by member states once they join the union.

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