MITH Conference Room, McKeldin Library B0135

"The International Children's Digital Library: Not Just for Children Anymore"

  • By Ann Weeks, Professor of the Practice, College of Information Studies
  • and Benjamin Bederson, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science
  • The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) is a full-text library of children's
  • books from around the world that is freely available via the Internet. Developed by an
  • interdisciplinary, intergenerational research team at the University of Maryland, the
  • collection currently includes contemporary and historic children's books in 48 languages

from 60 countries. The interface is available in sixteen languages. Although originally developed for children from ages 3-13, the research team has been working on extending the ICDL for use by other audiences and available on other platforms. Through partnerships with the Universities of Florida, Connecticut, and Minnesota, as well as the Boston Public Library, four special collections of historic children's materials, which may be of particular interest to humanities scholars, are now available.

The members of the technology team have created a new prototype that explores how the simplicity of the ICDL interface can be extended to a broader set of content for a wider audience. This new interface targets content for adults and adult users. Working with the Boston Public Library, this first effort demonstrates its application to 1,500 books from John Adams' collection in the Open Content Alliance (OCA). The Team also has built a new prototype that extends the reach of the ICDL to mobile phones. An iPhone application that offers four books in multiple languages using a special "ClearText" technology that makes the picture books readable even on these small screens, will be available soon. Members of the ICDL research team will describe the new special collections, demonstrate the new technologies, and discuss the project's goal of using technology to deliver the widest range of books to the widest range of audiences.

Coming up @MITH 11/25: Clifford Lynch postponed until spring semester due to Thanksgiving holiday.

Coming up @MITH 12/2: Elizabeth Bearden (English), "Renaissance Moving Pictures: From Sidney's Funeral Materials to Collaborative, Multimedia Nachleben"

View MITH's complete Digital Dialogues schedule here:

  • All talks free and open to the public!
  • Contact: Neil Fraistat, Director, MITH (,, 5-8927).