The New Zealand Digital Library has developed an open source digital library system called Greenstone (nzdl.org) which is being used (amongst other things) to deliver humanitarian and related information in developing countries. The software makes it easy to produce collections on CD-ROM, which is a very practical format for areas with little Internet access; the same collections are also available, in precisely the same form, over the Web. The user interacts through any standard Web browser, and the software incorporates a Web server so taht if the system happens to be connected to an intranet (e.g. in a hospital or school) the information is automatically served to other machines on the network.
About a dozen CD-ROMs have been produced from various organisations, including NGOs and several UN agencies. We are working with UNESCO on the further development and distribution of the Greenstone digital library software; the UN FAO on the dissemination of agricultural information; the Humanities Library Project in Belgium on creating new information collections; the Humanities Library Project in Belgium on creating new information collections; and the Payson Center at Tulane University, USA, on equipping people in developing countries with the ability to create information collections on CD-ROM.
Further information about this project can be found at: http://www.nzdl.org/cgi-bin/library.