WiderNet Releases Ebola Pocket Library to Assist Health Care Workers in Areas Hit by Outbreak

January 12, 2015

The WiderNet Project has released the Ebola Pocket Library to help disseminate critical information about the disease to health care workers, community leaders and individuals in parts of the world that do not have Internet access.

“We have seen during this tragic outbreak how much the lack of credible information has contributed to the spread of Ebola, and we want to help change that,” said Cliff Missen, WiderNet Project Director and Associate Professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  “Our mission at WiderNet has always been to provide access to educational resources, and the need has never been more critical than during this epidemic. We also hope that by distributing the library widely now, we can help to avert future outbreaks.”

The WiderNet Project and WiderNet@UNC created the Ebola Pocket Library for people responding to the Ebola crisis in Africa, especially local health care workers in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The library contains practical information from sources such as the CDC, WHO, Khan Academy and Wikipedia. Among its many resources, the library includes:

  • Ebola factsheets and basic information, such as symptoms, treatment, and prevention of Ebola
  • Training information for medical staff
  • Resources for those dealing with grief and loss
  • Occupational health and safety guidelines
  • Case studies and reports
  • General resources for emergency preparedness
  • Travel safety
  • Posters and other print materials for posting in public places
  • Safe burial practices for the victims of Ebola

The on-line Internet version of the Ebola Pocket Library can be viewed at http://www.widernet.org/portals/ebola, and the downloadable off-line version can be found at http://widernet.unc.edu/research/ebolalibrary/downloading-the-ebola-pocket-library/.

While the collections are highlighted online, the library is designed to be distributed on 16GB memory chips for use in smartphones, tablets, and laptops in places that lack internet access.  Thanks to special permissions from authors and publishers, the chips can be freely copied so that the information can spread faster than the disease. WiderNet plans to release new versions of the Ebola Pocket Library every few weeks.

"We continue to seek more donations of resources on Ebola treatment and prevention, travel safety and information for the general public," Missen said.  "We especially need more local language materials to add the collection."

The WiderNet Project and its research and development component, WiderNet@UNC, are dedicated to providing digital educational resources to clinics, schools, libraries, prisons and homes lacking adequate Internet access. To learn more, visit http://www.widernet.org or http://widernet.unc.edu/.