WiderNet Introduces Gerontology Portal Addition to eGranary Digital Library




The WiderNet Project and the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the University of Iowa have introduced a new gerontology information portal designed to promote healthy aging in Dennery, St. Lucia.


The gerontology portal is an addition to WiderNet's eGranary Digital Library, which offers Internet-like access to digital resources without requiring Internet connectivity. The digital libraries are provided to developing communities where Web access is expensive and spotty.

Developed by Diane Peterson, a UI graduate student in informatics, the gerontology portal consists of nearly 650 evidence-based and best-practice tutorials, journals, Web sites and other materials geared to the care and  prevention of chronic disease in adults and the elderly. It includes information on diseases, stress prevention and coping, nutrition and healthy activity. All materials in the portal comply with the National Library of Medicine guidelines.

 In the Caribbean island country of St. Lucia, Peterson and a group of graduate students under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Skemp conducted an eGranary Digital Library training program and an information technology needs assessment for two weeks in March.


"There was a wealth of enthusiasm over the capability of the eGranary to store and transport medical resources," Peterson said. "The eGranary makes it possible for community health professionals to bring the medical resources to the patients unable to reach the hospital due to inadequate roads and transportation."


 Dr. Skemp said there is a vital need for geriatric resources in developing communities, but few people have access to the Internet.


"Delivering this gerontology portal with the eGranary bridges this gap, providing developing communities with a wealth of geriatric and healthy aging resources that they would otherwise not be able to access," Skemp said.


The gerontology portal aligns with WiderNet's mission to create and maintain an ever-expanding digital collection of high-quality educational resources via the eGranary Digital Library. It also provides easy access to the content at very low or no cost to faculty, students, physicians, clinicians, patients, and self-learners living in low-income developing countries around the world.


"The physicians at Dennery Hospital currently have few resources on gerontology and healthy aging," Peterson said. "By providing these resources immediately through the eGranary, the research time is dramatically reduced, making the hospital more efficient."


The WiderNet Project is a service organization based at the University of Iowa's School of Library and Information Science that is dedicated to improving digital communications in underserved communities around the world. Launched in 2000, the WiderNet Project focuses on the development and utilization of innovative technology to bridge the digital divide and serve the information-poor. For more information, visit www.egranary.org or www.widernet.org


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

CONTACTS: WiderNet: 319-335-2200, publicity@widernet.org,  Media: John Riehl, (319) 384-1309, John-riehl@uiowa.edu, St. Lucia local contact: Kerthney Surage, (758) 453-3310  Kaceysurage@yahoo.com