IT Infrastructure & Management

Internet Library for Children Invites the World to Read

By Andrew Trotter — November 27, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A new library on the Web offers children—and their parents and teachers—a place to read children’s books from around the globe.

The International Children’s Digital Library, launched last week at www.icdlbooks.org and with a gala at the Library of Congress here, now has nearly 200 titles selected by national libraries, authors, and publishers representing 45 different cultures.

Nearly 200 titles, such as Alice in Wonderland, representing 45 different cultures, are in the International Children’s Digital Library so far.

It’s aiming for 10,000 children’s books from 100 cultures and thousands of authors within five years. All will be online, fully illustrated, and in their original languages. There will also be some translations.

“We’d like this site used for teaching about diversity and international understanding—but it’s also simply about stories,” said E. Jane White, the director of the San-Francisco-based ICDL, part of a five-year, $3.3 million research project of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland.

Children won’t find Harry Potter there—or any fees or advertising. They will find classics such as Heidi by Johanna Spyri, and favorites such as a book from the “I-Spy” series.

But most of the books are regional treasures that are unknown to the rest of the world.

Technological Hurdles

Visitors must cross a few hurdles to enter the library, which requires a high-speed Internet connection—common enough in U.S. schools and a growing number of public libraries, but still fairly rare in homes and throughout much of the world.

Would-be readers must also have a personal or tablet computer with features that have become standard only within the past two years.

The researchers purposely are using technologies that are expected be common five years from now, said Allison Druin, the project co-leader at the lab. More basic access by dial-up modem will be available by next summer.

Among other features, the site allows children to search for books from a certain region by clicking on a globe, or they can find books according to shape, color, language, or even the emotion a book evokes, such as happiness.

They can read the books in various formats— with miniature pages laid out as a storyboard that can be enlarged at will, or arranged in a spiral showing where the selected page falls in the narrative, or presented simply page by page.

Commercial publishers have given books to the ICDL to obtain research on presentation strategies, but also out of a sense of responsibility, said Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, which hosts the library.

“It taps one of the greatest responsibilities we have: to put the best we have to offer in the hands of the next generation,” he said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 27, 2002 edition of Education Week as Internet Library for Children Invites the World to Read

Events

Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
STEM Fusion: Empowering K-12 Education through Interdisciplinary Integration
Join our webinar to learn how integrating STEM with other subjects can revolutionize K-12 education & prepare students for the future.
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
School & District Management Webinar How Pensions Work: Why It Matters for K-12 Education
Panelists explain the fundamentals of teacher pension finances — how they are paid for, what drives their costs, and their impact on K-12 education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Infrastructure & Management It's Not Just About AI. Schools Are Facing 5 Other Tech Challenges, Too
In addition to the use of AI in education, schools must pay attention to several big tech challenges.
4 min read
A cybersecurity icon over a computer classroom seen through a screen of binary code.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
IT Infrastructure & Management Ed-Tech Companies Are Vulnerable to Cyberattacks. A New Federal Effort Wants to Help
The Education Department is teaming up with a top research university to stem a wave of cyberattacks on schools.
4 min read
Image of lock on binary code background.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
IT Infrastructure & Management Leader To Learn From Through Wars, Tornadoes, and Cyberattacks, He's a Guardian of Student Privacy
Jun Kim, the technology director in Moore, Okla., works to make the most of innovations—without endangering student data.
11 min read
Jun Kim, Director of Technology for Moore Public Schools, center, leads a data privacy review meeting on Dec. 13, 2023 in Moore, Okla.
Jun Kim, director of technology for the Moore public schools in Moore, Okla., leads a data privacy review for staff.
Brett Deering for Education Week
IT Infrastructure & Management One Solution to Maintaining 1-to-1 Devices? Pay Students to Repair Them
Hiring students to help with the repair process is one way school districts are ensuring the sustainability of their 1-to-1 programs.
4 min read
Sawyer Wendt, a student intern for the Altoona school district’s IT department, repairs a Chromebook.
Sawyer Wendt, who's been a student intern for the Altoona district's tech department since junior year, is now studying IT software development in college.
Courtesy of Jevin Stangel, IT technician for the Altoona school district