The internet grows ever more vital as an information source, and yet it’s unavailable to most of the world’s population. We believe everyone should have equal access to information, and our faculty and students are working on innovative solutions to make that happen.
WiderNet@UNC is the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) support for the WiderNet Project, the brainchild of SILS faculty member Cliff Missen. WiderNet produces the eGranary Digital Library, also known as the “internet in a box”, an offline repository of more than 32 million digital resources that is installed in remote locations in Africa, the Caribbean and southwest Asia. WiderNet trains on-site partners to maintain the eGranaries, ensuring the longevity of the technology and expanding the skills and knowledge of local community members. WiderNet@UNC is the foundation for all of this important work, providing funding for students and faculty who envision and improve the digital library. Our students benefit from the invaluable experiences gained through working with WiderNet@UNC and from the firsthand insights offered in Missen’s “Bridging the Digital Divide” courses.
The Community Workshop Series coordinates volunteers to teach basic computer literacy courses at libraries around the Triangle. When the program lost funding in 2016, our students worked to keep it alive, devoting their own time to helping bridge the digital divide in North Carolina.
Once people are online, they can find a vast resource of freely available materials – including software, music, literature and art – at ibiblio.org, a digital conservancy led by Professor Paul Jones. One of the world’s first websites and largest “collections of collections” on the internet, ibiblio has been connecting people with content for over 25 years.