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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 29, 2006

WiderNet Project Seeks Volunteers For December 2 Workday

Volunteers are needed this Saturday, Dec. 2, at the University of Iowa's WiderNet Project to help test and prepare a mountain of donated computers for shipments to Africa, India and other parts of the developing world. The workday will be at 201 Communications Center on Madison Street in Iowa City from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No previous computer experience is necessary for volunteers to participate in the workday, just the desire to help reduce information poverty in the developing world, said Sharon Benzoni, WiderNet Project volunteer coordinator. New volunteers will have the opportunity to learn the basics of computer hardware repair and troubleshooting, and help update the massive eGranary Digital Library, Benzoni said.

"We'll prepare donated computers for shipping; categorize and check links in the newest version of the eGranary Digital Library, our "Internet-in-a-Box"; and of course, eat pizza," she said. "As always, volunteers of all ages and skill levels are welcome. You can help out for a few hours or spend all day, if you wish," she adds. 

WiderNet staff will be available all day on Saturday to accept donations of computers (Pentium III computers or better) and monitors accompanied with computers.

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. The WiderNet Project's eGranary Digital Library puts millions of documents instantly at the fingertips of scholars in developing countries without using an Internet connection.

For more information about the WiderNet Project Volunteer Workday, contact Sharon Benzoni at or 335-2200.  For more information about the WiderNet Project, see and

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: Sharon Benzoni or Mary Abboud, 319-335-2200, or