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HCIL researchers receive NSF grant for Children's International Digital Library

A team of University of Maryland computer interface researchers has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an international digital library for children.

Assistant Professor Allison Druin (EDU/UMIACS/ISR), Ben Bederson and Ann Weeks received the NSF Information Technology Research grant worth $3 million over five years.

The project will develop the Children's International Digital Library, foreseen as a comprehensive library of international children's literature available to children across the globe. The library aims to cost effectively digitize massive amounts of information dedicated to the needs of children, using technology to help strengthen existing libraries worldwide by providing a large-scale digital archive of literature for children ages three to 13.

The Maryland researchers will address the issues of searching/browsing/sharing technologies for children and develop a testbed using large amounts of digital information.

The University of Maryland is partnering with The Internet Archive, the largest library of the Internet, on the grant. This public nonprofit was founded to build an "Internet library" offering permanent access to historical collections that exist in digital format for researchers, historians, and scholars.

In the fall a prototype will be launched using the interface designed by the Maryland researchers. The prototype will include 225 books: 100 books selected and digitized by The Library of Congress, 100 books selected by international librarians and 25 books of new material from publishers and authors.

The site will be built over time based on interface design testing; experimentation with book digitalization techniques; ground-breaking storage, retrieval, annotation and delivery technologies; needs assessment collected from a cross-section of libraries internationally; and knowledge gathered from authors, creators and publishers about fair compensation systems that would encourage the best existing works to be made available as well as to motivate the creation of new works.

Based on the lessons learned in the prototype, at a later date the site will relaunch with an expanded collection of 10,000 books -- 100 books from 100 countries.

May 1, 2002


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