For the past several years, mathematicians have contemplated a coordinated effort to digitize the past mathematical literature in order to make it available online. The aim is to make as much of the literature heritage accessible as possible, linked to the present literature in suitable ways.
The Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) of the International Mathematical Union has made a commitment to coordinate further efforts to achieve a world-wide digital library. This page contains information about the World Digital Mathematics Library project and will be updated as the effort continues.
The CEIC organized a panel on the World Digital Mathematical Library at ICM 2014, August 20, 18:00-19:30. The panelists were Thierry Bouche, Ingrid Daubechies, Gert-Martin Greuel, Patrick Ion, Rajeeva Karandikar, and June Zhang, and the moderator was Peter Olver. A video of the panel discussion can be found here.
Recently, a report was published by the US National Research Council on Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research. A summary of its findings can be found here and also in the arXiv.
The CEIC organized the Symposium on The Future World Heritage Digital Mathematics Library, June 1-3, 2012, at the National Academy of Sciences. The meeting was supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Participants, keynote talks, position statements, panel discussions, breakout sessions and more can all be found on the Conference Wiki.
A World Digital Mathematics Library blog, to provide an ongoing forum for discussions about and new developments in the WDML, was inaugurated by CEIC in August, 2014, but is not presently active.
On August 17, 2014, in Seoul, South Korea, the IMU and CEIC hosted a meeting of a select group of 21 experts plus at least eight remote participants to plan the next practical steps towards the construction of the Global Digital Mathematical Library (GDML). As a result, a smaller eight-person working group (WG) under the sponsorship of the IMU, was created. The WG members are Patrick Ion (who later also joined CEIC), chair (USA), Thierry Bouche (France), Bruno Buchberger (Austria), Michael Kohlhase (Germany), Jim Pitman (USA), Olaf Teschke (Germany), Stephen Watt (Canada), and Eric Weisstein (USA). The WG was charged with the tasks of designing a road map for the practical next steps towards the GDML, determining its organizational structure, prioritizing the different requirements for its implementation, estimating an incremental budget, both start-up and sustaining funds, and fostering the writing of proposals to funding organizations.
Since that time the GDML WG has been working toward these general goals, As an opportunity for taking stock, and to promote further progress, a Panel on GDML issues has been organized for ICM 2018.