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Production & Distribution

Wondering how we get all that knowledge into a tiny little hard drive? It's a multi-step process that we've developed over the last 18 years to ensure that everything in the eGranary is usable and useful.

Step 1: Identify Web sites with rich educational content

Since the advent of the World Wide Web, millions of individuals and organizations have digitized their information to share with the general public over the Internet.

Building on this phenomenon, we look for Web sites with pertinent digitized academic information (often guided by requests of our subscribers) and add these to our "wish list."
 
Step 2: Secure the author's or publisher's permission to copy their materials

We contact authors and publishers via email and simply ask, "Can we replicate your materials for institutions in developing countries with inadequate Internet connectivity?"

Depending on the subject area, we receive from 50% to 90% positive responses. So far, librarians lead the pack; medical resources are harder to come by.
 
Step 3: Copy the permitted materials to a hard drive at the WiderNet Project

Using HTTrack, a Web site "scraping" software -- and a number of other tricks -- we make a duplicate of the permitted materials on our server.

We do not change the content, although we remove links to annoying advertisement servers and "hit" monitors.

Sometimes we copy an entire Web site, sometimes just the portions that contain the most useful information.
 
Step 4: Make copies of the collection and distribute to subscribers

Using large hard disks, we deliver copies of the eGranary Digital Library to subscribers.

Most subscribers already have servers and local area networks in place, so they simply add the eGranary hard drive to their existing server.

We work with other universities and institutions to set up their first servers, sometimes using donated computers and software.
 
Step 5: Provisions for Update

We've learned that the logistics of updating hard drives is expensive and cumbersome.  Most of our subscribers are not able to afford this. 

Instead, some will replace their hard drive every few years; the new one is always bigger, has much more content, and a slew of improved features.  

Some run their hard drives until they die (some sites are still running 10-year-old eGranaries!) 

And others use the built-in content uploading and Web development tools to incrementally add to their eGranary collection.