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Put a library in your pocket

Media Release
December 15, 2008

Put a library in your pocket

Instead of packing a couple of books for the beach these holidays, imagine being able to pick and choose from one million books loaded onto your iPod. It’s a bookworm’s dream, but could soon become a reality thanks to the Greenstone digital library software project at the University of Waikato.

Computer science researchers at Waikato have created an experimental prototype which enhances an ordinary personal media player by adding digital library capabilities. “We’re talking truly vast portable storage capacity,” says Dr David Bainbridge. “In terms of text storage, it equates to downloading the contents of a medium-sized university library onto something the size of a matchbox.”

Dr Bainbridge says the researchers have reached proof of concept stage for the prototype, which also allows the mobile device to be configured as a web server. “This means you could use your iPod to deliver digital library content over a network, so you could read the book of your choice on a full screen.”

Dr Bainbridge and his co-researchers have just won a best paper award for their research at the annual International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries (ICADL), held in Bali earlier this month.

The research is part of Waikato University’s internationally-awarded Greenstone project,, which allows communities all over the world to build their own open access digital libraries.

But bookworms will have to wait a while before enjoying browsing at the beach: Dr Bainbridge says there are still a number of obstacles to be overcome, such as copyright issues and the cost of digitising all those books.


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