The WiderNet Project
|Last updated on November 26, 2012|
The WiderNet Project is a service project based at The University of Iowa. It's goal is to improve educational communication systems in developing countries. Volunteers are invaluable to these efforts. One of the most exciting things about the project is the seemingly limitless number of possibilities for expansion, refinement and growth. With this comes the need for a large team of people who share our vision of bridging gaps in educational inequalities between rich and poor countries. Thanks to the work of volunteers, we're able to undertake a wider variety of projects to fulfill our mission and CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!
Most institutions in developing countries do not have an Internet connection, and where Internet does exist, it is slow, unreliable and very expensive. Bandwidth in Africa can cost up to 100 times what it costs in the U.S., so for some a slim Internet can consume up to one-half of their operating budget. Even for those individuals who have the ability to pay for web browsing, the experience can be frustratingly slow -- it can take hours to download a single audio file.
The WiderNet Project's eGranary Digital Library delivers digital information directly to Web servers inside institutions, bypassing the Internet. We receive permission to copy educational content from the web and move them to the subscriber's local area network (LAN) so that the documents can be made available to everyone in the institution freely and instantly.
The eGranary holds a collection of millions of documents and runs at speeds thousands of times faster than regular Internet; so even when the Internet connection is broken, these institutions can continue to function. The eGranary has been implemented in more than 300 universities, hospitals, schools, and clinics around the world.
When WiderNet director, Cliff Missen, traveled to the University of Jos in 1998 to teach as a Senior Fulbright Scholar, he carried with him a couple of CDs filled with digital materials he had copied from the Web to teach his courses. These were copied to an Intranet server and became an overnight hit with a handful of students and staff who had access to the network. By the time Missen left ten months later, over 2GB of documents had been shipped to Nigeria on CDs and added to the collection.
Seeing the dramatic impact that this early digital library had on those using the network, the WiderNet staff began seeking permissions from more authors and recruited librarians and others to assist in the digital library's development.
The initial version of the eGranary was delivered in January 2002, and the WiderNet Project continues to update and improve our databases on a regular basis.
Our eGranary team continues to actively pursue existing digital collections, websites, and documents which we can then deliver to developing countries via our eGranary Digital Library.
Contact person: Cliff Missen, Director, (phone), (email)
Office fax number:
Web Site: http://www.widernet.org/getinvolved/volunteer
||201 Communications Center, University Of Iowa
116 S. Madison Street
Iowa City, IA 52242
(See a map)
||WiderNet is located on The University of Iowa Campus directly across from the UI Main Library. Directions are available at www.widernet.org/directions.
PARKING: You can park your car at the Main Library's parking lot (just south of the Main Library) or in. . . (more)
Nearest Bus Stop: Old Capitol Mall, 1 minute walk
|Last updated on November 26, 2012|
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