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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 7, 2006

Seagate Technology Joins UI WiderNet In Effort To Bring Internet To Africa

Seagate Technology, the world's largest manufacturer of disc drives, has partnered with the University of Iowa's WiderNet Project to demonstrate how high-capacity hard drives can deliver the world's knowledge to people in developing countries who do not have adequate access to the Internet.

Seagate's donation of more than $7,000 worth of high capacity hard drives, including both 750 and 500 gigabyte internal hard drives and a Seagate Mirra Personal Server, will house the WiderNet Project's growing eGranary Digital Library, the "Internet in a Box", that features millions of educational resources from the Internet.

"With this donation of super high capacity hard drives, Seagate helps us to further experiment with using modern data storage to deliver the world's knowledge to the seven-out-of-eight people who do not yet have access to the Internet," said Cliff Missen, director of the UI's WiderNet Project.

For some universities in Africa, an Internet connection costs more than employing 20 full-time professors, Missen said. Those who have access to the Internet often experience very slow speeds, waiting an hour just to open a few Web pages. "There is a voracious demand for information in these countries and our project is providing access where there simply wasn't before," Missen said.

The eGranary Digital Library overcomes the lack of an Internet connection by loading hard disks with digital multimedia resources, contributed by hundreds of Web authors and publishers, and then placing the disks inside schools and clinics in developing countries. This way, users can open Web pages instantly, without waiting on a slow Internet connection. Seagate's new high-capacity hard drives have the potential to store 7-10 million documents, more than enough to hold the eGranary's current collection of 5 million documents.

"We're developing a first-class collection of books, journals, videos, photos, and radio shows," Missen said. "And we've created special software to make it look and act just like the Internet. But it's a safe collection, maintained by librarians, with no pornography, advertisements, or popular culture sites."

Launched in 2000, the WiderNet Project, a service organization based at the UI School of Library and Information Science, is dedicated to improving digital communications and reducing information poverty in developing countries.

Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of applications, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, Consumer Electronics and Branded Solutions. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at

Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC. Mirra is a trademark of Seagate Technology LLC or one of its affiliated companies. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For more information on the eGranary Digital Library, go to or; and for more on the WiderNet Project, see

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Cliff Missen, 319-335-2200,