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Center has international plans

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Feb. 24, 2003 

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IU's Center for the Study of Global Change may exist in a small building, but it has big plans. The center recently undertook several international research and teaching projects as part of its goal to intertwine globalization and education.

The center has completed a digital archiving project in collaboration with the League of Nations archive located in the Library of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland. The workers digitized thousands of photographs during the multi-year project.

According to Professor Brian Winchester, the center's director, the archive will soon debut online.

Later this semester representatives from the center will return to Geneva to begin a new project in connection with the International Bureau of Education (IBE) where workers will sort, digitize and record the annual "National Reports on the Development of Education" presented by IBE member countries.

"We want to make available (the reports) from 1934 up until 1996," said retired international documents librarian Marian Shaaban.

The initial stage of the project will focus on reports from Arab countries, however Shaaban said she plans to expand the project to include all Islamic countries.

According to Winchester, the Center will use the bureau's staff as its primary source of laborers; however, it is likely that students from IU's School of Library and Information Science will be recruited to help.

Shaaban will join the Geneva researchers for two weeks in April as the project gets underway in the coming months.

"I have such a long familiarity with the collection and the documents," Shaaban said. "I am the beginning person to help get the project underway."

The center will also digitize many of the last decade's national reports from their own collection.

Winchester said the "modest" project will make substantial progress within a year. He said the center plans to apply for federal funding in order to take the project to the next level.

The center is also designing a Global Interactive Academic Network (GIANT). Thus far, 18 countries use interactive video links to host lectures from speakers in other countries, greatly reducing the cost of guest speakers and increasing accessibility to foreign authorities.

"To fly somebody in from Norway is expensive, a video link is a couple of hundred bucks," Winchester said.

This technology will not be used only for guest speakers. Planning is taking place for a joint learning program with Umeá, Sweden. GIANT will eventually evolve into what Winchester termed a "multi-site, synchronous colloquia" in which international conferences will take place between many different universities.

According to the center's Web site, it also runs many student-oriented programs including an international studies summer institute and undergraduate minor program and a year-long graduate seminar on research in less-developed countries.

In addition, the center supervises several Web sites that offer online courses, databases and other resource materials to both students and scholars world-wide.

 

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