NSF PR 02-93 - November 18, 2002
NSF-Supported International Children's Digital
Library to Launch November 20
Project targets online collection
of 10,000 books from 100 cultures
Led by the University of Maryland and the Internet
Archive, a partnership of government, non-profit,
industry and academic organizations will launch the
world's largest international digital library for
children on Wednesday, Nov. 20, during a ceremony
at the Library of Congress.
The project is funded by the National Science Foundation
(NSF) with additional support from other partners
as part of a long-term research project to develop
new technology to serve young readers.
The new International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)
will provide children ages 3 to 13 years with an unparalleled
opportunity to experience different cultures through
literature. The new digital library will begin with
200 books in 15 languages representing 27 cultures,
with plans to grow over five years to 10,000 books
representing 100 different cultures.
"NSF is pleased to provide support that has made the
International Children's Digital Library possible,"
said Michael Pazzani, NSF Division Director for Information
and Intelligent Systems, who is speaking at the ceremony.
"The ICDL is a wonderful result of NSF's investment
in interdisciplinary research that brought children
into the design process and explored new territory
in information technology."
The ICDL originated with an NSF Digital Libraries Initiative
Phase 2 grant to an interdisciplinary team at the
University of Maryland for researching the special
needs of children in digital library environments.
In addition to experts in computer science, library
science, psychology, education, and other fields,
the team included elementary school teachers and children
aged 5 to 10 years from Yorktown Elementary School
in Bowie, Maryland. Together, they considered the
unique ways that children access, explore and organize
digital learning materials.
While the ICDL's collection is intended to provide
access to the best children's books worldwide, a primary
long-term benefit of the project may be in discovering
how children can best interact with digital books.
"Engaging stories help children grow intellectually
and emotionally, gain an understanding of who they
are and learn about others and the world around them,
all while having a great deal of fun," said Allison
Druin, project leader of the ICDL at the University
of Maryland. "We believe that the International Children's
Digital Library can provide an important new avenue
for children to experience new books and explore other
In compiling the 10,000-book collection, the ICDL will
also work to understand data acquisition and rights
management in the creation of a large-scale digital
library. The ICDL will collaborate with industry partners
on technologies needed to incorporate copyrighted
books while respecting intellectual property laws
NSF's continued support for the library is through
a $3 million, five-year Information Technology Research
award to the University of Maryland and the Internet
Archive. The project receives additional support from
the Library of Congress, the American Library Association,
the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the
Kahle/Austin Foundation, Adobe Systems Inc. and the
For more details, see http://www.icdlbooks.org/.