Monday, October 4, 2010

Greenstone Digital Library Software

Greenstone is a suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO. It is open-source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

The aim of the Greenstone software is to empower users, particularly in universities, libraries, and other public service institutions, to build their own digital libraries. Digital libraries are radically reforming how information is disseminated and acquired in UNESCO's partner communities and institutions in the fields of education, science and culture around the world, and particularly in developing countries. We hope that this software will encourage the effective deployment of digital libraries to share information and place it in the public domain. Further information can be found in the book How to build a digital library, authored by three of the group's members.
The complete Greenstone interface, and all documentation, is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Kazakh. Greenstone also has interfaces in many other languages. We are looking for volunteers to add new language interfaces and help maintain existing ones.
International Links:
Greenstone support for Southern Africa
Greenstone support for South Asia
Grupo de Usuarios de Habla Hispana de Greenstone
Grupo de Usuarios Greenstone de Latinoamérica
Lista De Usuários de Língua Portuguesa do Greenstone
Blog de la communauté francophone
Liste de diffusion de la communauté francophone
برنامج Greenstone للمكتبة الرقمية

If you download and install Greenstone and the documented example collections, it will look like this. If you install Greenstone from the UNESCO CD-ROM, it will look similar, but only a few of the collections will be included, and just the four languages English, French, Spanish and Russian will be enabled. To activate the other languages, please see the Enabling other languages section of the Updating a Greenstone Installation tutorial.
One of the trickier parts of using Greenstone is coming up with a configuration file for your collection. To help learn how to do it, several fully-documented example collections have been placed at which explain, on the collection home page, just how they have been put together. Also, the collect.cfg files for many of the collections at have been made available here.
This software is developed and distributed as an international cooperative effort established in August 2000 among three parties:
New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato Greenstone software grew out of this project, and this initiative has been endorsed by the Communication Sub-Commission of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO as part of New Zealand's contribution to UNESCO's programme.

The Greenstone project is the seventh recipient of the biennial Namur award, which recognizes recipients for raising awareness internationally of the social implications of information and communication technologies.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization The dissemination of educational, scientific and cultural information throughout the world, and particularly its availability in developing countries, is central to UNESCO's goals as pursued within its intergovernmental Information for All Programme, and appropriate, accessible information and communication technology is seen as an important tool in this context.

UNESCO is running regional training workshops on the use of Greenstone.
The Human Info NGO, based in Antwerp, Belgium This project works with UN agencies and other NGOs, and has established a worldwide reputation for digitizing documentation of interest to human development and making it widely available, free of charge to developing nations and on a cost-recovery basis to others.

User Survey

Here are the results of a Greenstone user survey undertaken by Laura Sheble of the University of North Carolina in 2009.

Greenstone Support Organisation for Africa (GSOA)

Here is the GSOA feasibility study undertaken with UNESCO support in 2005 and completed in February 2006. Readers may wish to refer to the survey questionnaire which was circulated widely to African professionals to prepare this study. Comments or questions may be addressed to John Rose who coordinated this study for Greenstone and is exploring options for follow-up.
The downloads available from the download page are hosted by Sourceforge.

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