When it is completed in about 5 years, the International Children's Digital Library will hold about 10,000 children's books from 100 cultures targeted at children from 3 to 13. Built by the Internet Archive, the largest library on the Internet and the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab, worldwide supporters include the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Finnish Institute for Children's Literature: Helsinki University Library; National Library Board of Singapore; National Library of Croatia; Swiss Institute for Child and Youth Media; the Swiss National Library; the National Library of New Zealand and the Zimbabwe Book Council. Brewster Kahl, digital librarian of the Internet Archive said universal access to all human knowledge and culture is within our grasps. "This project is bringing publishers, librarians and researchers together to make a system that works for children," Kahl said.
The library has books from more than 27 different cultures in more than 15 different languages. And while much of the collection is drawn from the public domain, the library includes about 80 books in copyright from publishers and authors as well as classics such as "Alice in Wonderland" and "Robinson Crusoe," which are no longer under copyright restriction. Access to the site at www.icdlbooks.org initially requires a direct Internet connection, such as a DSL line or a cable modem and service for those connecting by phone modems will be available in the summer 2003.
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