Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Building a Global Library

Tunisia is very interesting this week! The WSIS conference is going on, human rights activists are getting beaten up, and we're talking about how information technology can help build a better world.

I gave my talk here on Tuesday, entitled: Building a Global Library for People with Print Disabilities. It went well: many passionate and interesting people from the disabilities movement are here and we are definitely brainstorming ways to join our efforts.

A tech guy from Egypt was the standout moment for me so far. I was attending a session organized by the library association, IFLA, and he got up and talked about how Egypt does not have a culture of reading. His point was the 5 million Internet users in Egypt are the people who do read. His complaint: the Web is dominated by extremist content. No publishers get why electronic media is important, and their absence is an acute problem.

Makes me think that a great investment in civil society is buying the electronic rights to books in many different languages and making them available for free!

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