Virtual science library established for Iraqi universities

U.S. scientists have made more than 1 million articles from 17,000 scientific journals available to Iraqi scientists at seven universities. The Iraqi Virtual Science Library, unveiled today, uses Web technology to make the documents available.

The project was announced and demonstrated in Washington, D.C., today by representatives from Sun Microsystems, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academies and the State Department.

Robert Bredehoft, Sun's vice president of global government industry sales, said the program has future business opportunities in education infrastructure, but the idea behind the library is not to make money. "It's to give the large and dispersed Iraqi scientific community the ability to access as many current scientific journals as possible," he said.

It took a little more than a year to get the English-only Web site operational, said Susan Cumberledge, co-founder of the project. Its creators used $360,000 from the Advanced Systems Concept Office in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and coordinated their work with the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, she said.

The virtual library could expand to more Iraqi universities in the future, its creators said.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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