Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 11, 2007

UI WiderNet Project unveils new version of 'Internet in a Box'

The University of Iowa's WiderNet Project has launched a new version of its eGranary Digital Library, an offline educational resource also known as 'The Internet in a Box(TM),' which provides people in developing countries access to information from the Internet.

The eGranary750 is three times larger than the previous version and features an improved search engine and user-friendly interfaces for easy navigation.

"Seven out of eight people in the world don't have access to the Internet," said Cliff Missen, WiderNet Project director. "Although the Internet is an invaluable information tool, it is useless for people in developing countries who can't connect to the Web. For those who are connected, bandwidth can be extremely expensive, costing thousands of dollars each year for connection speeds that are incredibly slow."

The eGranary Digital Library was created to solve that dilemma.

The device stores approximately 10 million educational documents, including OpenCourseWare from Massachusetts Institute of Technology course offerings, Project Gutenberg's complete collection of classic literature, and the entire Wikipedia Web site.

These resources are copied with permission from various Web sites on small portable hard drives, which are transported to subscribers and partner institutions. The hard drives are then added to existing servers, enabling staff and students to view materials at speeds that are several thousand times faster and far less expensive than their typical Internet connection.

The WiderNet Project is a service organization based at the UI School of Library and Information Science. Since its launch in 2000, WiderNet has distributed more than 130 eGranary Digital Libraries to locations around the world, including Africa, India and Haiti.

The new 750GB eGranary is available for purchase and costs $750 for a USB stand-alone or $2,800 for a server edition. For more information, visit or

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Cliff Missen, WiderNet, 319-335-2200,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,