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US award for Greenstone digital library project

Media Release
December 16, 2008


US award for Waikato University’s Greenstone digital library project


The University of Waikato’s acclaimed Greenstone digital library software project has added another prize to its clutch of international awards.

The project, which has developed a set of software tools to allow communities all over the world to build their own open-source digital libraries, has won a $US50,000 ($NZ91,825) Mellon Award for Technology Co-operation.

The awards are made annually by the US-based Andrew W Mellon Foundation to honour not‐for‐profit organisations for leadership in the collaborative development of open source software tools for the arts and humanities, as well as cultural-heritage not‐for‐profit activities.

The University of Waikato project was one of 10 recipients of this year’s Mellon awards, totalling $US650,000 and the only organisation outside the US and UK to be honoured in this way.

The software was the brainchild of Waikato’s Professor Ian Witten, who says the prize money will be used for further development and release of Greenstone software. “These digital libraries are of enormous importance to the developing world – they provide a low-cost way of distributing organised information widely throughout the vast internet-challenged regions of the world.”

The awards were presented at a meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information by Vint Cerf, Vice-President and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google, a man often called the “father of the internet.”

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Other recipients included software development projects at MIT, the University of Illinois, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Kings College London.

The Andrew W Mellon Foundation is a philanthropic organisation with offices in New York City and Princeton, NJ. The awards are a project of the foundation’s programme in Research in Information Technology. More information about the awards is available at http://matc.mellon.org.

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