Providing internet-based education resources is all well and good, but what about the billions of people worldwide who still aren’t online? A team of digital librarians and computer programmers have developed a solution that will help them this obstacle by putting an internet’s worth of resources on a 20GB microSD card.

The eGranary Pocket Library, a project by digital educational resources non-profit the WiderNet Project, is a small chip that can be inserted into a cellphone or tablet and give users access to customized educational web-based resources in small collections that can be copied onto a USB or internal drive, laptop, tablet or cellphone.

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The archive has been put together from the non-profit’s current eGranary Library server that’s been hosting educational materials and distributing them for the last 12 years, providing global communities with millions of digital documents including Wikipedia articles. Each pocket library can be customised for a particular need, and comes with software like Moodle for helping teachers manage it too.

A pilot of the Pocket Library was carried out last year during the Ebola outbreak with each chip containing helpful information that was distributed to citizens in the affected countries.

The WiderNet Project is currently on a drive to crowdfund $60 000 on Indiegogo to begin a three-year project to manufacture eGranary Pocket Libraries pre-installed with multiple collections from various partners.

“This three-year project will have students and volunteers at the WiderNet Project working with colleagues in underserved areas in the U.S. and the developing world to develop dozens of chip-sized collections that focus on topics like language and literacy, life skills, vocational education, IT skills, health sciences, maths, science, and more,” the WiderNet Project says.

“Experienced librarians and programmers will be recruited for each collection, along with volunteers and representatives of the target populations. We are not simply creating a software that distributes random information, aka “shovelware,” but instead thoughtfully curated, catalogued and searchable libraries containing practical and essential resources.”

There are ten different proposed collections that will be featured on eGranary Pocket Libraries to cater to the specific audiences and areas where they’ll is distributed in:

  • Ethiopian Education
  • Zambian Nurse Training
  • Durham Young Adult
  • Rural Agriculture
  • STEM
  • Water Resources
  • Assistive Technology
  • Great Stories
  • Going Digital
  • Veterinary Sciences

Currently the eGranary Pocket Library flexible funding campaign has raised $48 112 of its goal and has four days before it closes.

[Source and images – Indiegogo]