Making the COSL Microlibrary Easier to Use

Some of you will know COSL’s Microlibrary project. For those of you who don’t, the Microlibrary is a public service project inspired by the Internet Archive’s Bookmobile which makes weekly trips to public schools in Utah, teaching kids about the history of writing and printing, getting kids involved in making books, and giving every kid in the class a book of their own choosing to keep. The Microlibrary project began last year, and so far in the 2007-2008 school year over 700 kids have participated in the presentation and received a free book.

We’ve recently bundled up some of the technology we use to produce the printable versions of the books (some existing open source software, some of our own software) and released it through the COSL website. The service works as a mediator and the idea was originally inspired by the excellent Shodouka mediator, which was the only way you could read Japanese websites back in the day…

The service actually inserts printable book links into the download table at the bottom of each book page on the Gutenberg site. For example, check out the Gutenberg page for Pride and Prejudice run through the mediator.

We think this makes the Microlibrary significantly easier for folks to use. What do you think? We’d love to hear your feedback!