Greenstone experiences in Latin America and Caribbean
UNESCO's Office in Montevideo releases a book on the use of Greenstone, open source digital library software, in Latin America. Entitled Greenstone: Un software libre de código abierto para la construcción de bibliotecas digitales. Experiencias en América Latina y el Caribe, the publication explains the multiple applications of Greenstone in the region and the work of national Greenstone's centres.
The open source Greenstone digital library software suite was developed by the University of Waikato in New Zealand, in cooperation with UNESCO and the Belgian NGO Human Info. Greenstone is a user-friendly, multilingual, multi-platform package for assembling electronic documents into digital collections and for publishing these collections on the web or on CD-ROM. It accepts documents in a wide range of proprietary and standard formats, supports numerous standards for document and metadata exchange.
Since its creation in 1997, Greenstone software has spread to 90 countries and has been translated into 45 languages, which makes it a key tool for the development of knowledge societies and a promoter of social development at the international level. Greenstone is being distributed under GNU General Public License.
Greenstone's flexibility, robustness, ease of use and free availability make it a particularly useful resource for developing countries. Many examples have been brought together on the <a target=_blank href="http://www.nzdl.org">New Zealand Digital Library website</a> and in the <a target=_blank href="http://www.greenstone.org/examples">list of links to external collections</a> maintained by the Greenstone team. Greenstone makes every effort to ensure that the software makes minimal demands on system resources and is simple to install.
An advanced course in technical aspects and development of Greenstone software was held during the 6th Latin American Free Software Conference LATINOWARE 2009 in Foz de Iguazú, Brazil. The workshop gathered members of Latin American public institutions and private companies, working in digital information management using digital libraries. Under the guidance of Ian Witten, the developer of Greenstone software from the New Zealand University of Waikato, the workshop participants learned how to use advanced tools and techniques in design, construction and management of digital libraries and resources, based on Greenstone software.
Capacity building and networking proved of highest importance in order to increase the outreach and strengthen the progress of Greenstone. Against this background, Ian Witten was deeply impressed by the commitment and strong demand for Greenstone in South America, which made it stand out as one of the strongest and most committed Greenstone regions internationally.
Greenstone is used in Latin America to build digital repositories of archives and libraries in various domains, spreading from agriculture and medicine to social sciences and communication. The new book not only gives an idea about existing use of Greenstone in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also presents perspectives and comments of the LATINOWARE 2009 participants, who are key players in the development of digital libraries.
To downloaded the book in PDF in Spanish please <a target=_blank href="http://www.unesco.org.uy/ci/fileadmin/comunicacion-informacion/Greenstone-paraweb.pdf">click here</a>.