A Report on Kids Help Design International Children’s Digital Library By: Abdulaziz Al shamsan March 2010

In Kids Help Design International Children’s Digital Library (Washington: icdlbooks.org, 2008), Jeffery Thomas

describes how the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL), a nonprofit foundation, offers for free its collection of more than 2,500 books on a completely noncommercial site with no advertising. Kids Help Design International Children’s Digital Library covers Jeffrey views and impressions of (ICDL) contribution to help children to understand the world around them and the global society in which they live by compelling all the world’s finest children’s books available in every language for free. I was impressed with Jeffrey Thomas writing style. For example he encourage people to participate and log on the website: “It’s waiting for you online, whether you are interested in learning a foreign language through

literature, enlarging your world view, or just looking for a

good story to read yourself or to a child”(1). He was successful in his emotional introduction bringing to our attention that it is purely free as part of (ICDL) social responsibility activity: “The books are in 48 different languages and beautiful to behold, and you can easily search for the ones that will make you feel happy, sad, scared or merry, or the ones with bugs, worms and spiders. The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL), a nonprofit foundation, offers for free its collection of more than 2,500 books on a completely noncommercial site with no advertising”(1). Also he shows how accurate he was when he listed the number of books available in each language: “Current holdings for the top 10 languages are English (1,471), Persian (407), Mongolian (237), Spanish (123), German (80), Serbian (77), French (46), Arabic (26), Filipino/Tagalog (24) and Yiddish (23)”(1). Although I was aware of the presence of thousand of electronic books, I appreciated Jeffrey article about (ICDL) imitative: “Both in terms of the fight against global illiteracy and in promoting cross-cultural literacy, the ICDL can play an important role by providing access to

materials from around the world. “Even in wealthy parts of wealthy countries — say Washington, D.C., or Maryland — public schools regularly have kids that speak 30 or 40 different languages at home. That’s just part of the world we live in,” said Ben Bederson, an ICDL director and associate professor of computer science at the University of Maryland. “If their parents didn’t bring books from their home country with them, they may just not have access to them.” the ICDL has a thousand volunteers working on getting every one of its books published in every language. It is eager to receive more books from publishers and rights holders, Bederson said”(2). Jeffrey elaborated on the collaboration between (ICDL), government, and private sector such as Microsoft

Research: “Founded in 2002, the ICDL was initially funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and Microsoft Research. An interdisciplinary research team at the University of

Maryland did the actual work of creating the digital library and its interface. Since there had been virtually no previous published work on the subject and since the

researchers believed the best designs for children come from children, the designers worked with children to see what they were interested in and how they looked for books online, said Bederson, one of the principal

investigators”(2). As partners they designed a unique search interface. The search buttons on the ICDL Web site, for example, enable children to look for books based on the color of their covers. “Lot of times kids are just looking for a book to read and they don’t really have anything in mind: “Kids can also search for books that other children found funny or that made them feel happy, sad or scared”(3). Kids Help Design International Children’s Digital Library is a very remarkable article. Jeffrey highlighted the project and explained directly how kids can benefit of such tool. I think governments and private sectors should collaborate and contribute to society by creating similar project covering other books targeting different segments. The only weakness I noticed in the article was focusing on (ICDL) that positioned some parts of the article as an advertising material.

For more information about children books, visit the International Children’s Digital Library on the foundation’s Web site.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.