Human rights and disability rights advocates around the globe can now access a newly launched tool for finding the knowledge and toolkits they need: the Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) at http://gdrl.org. A prototype "test" version of this library is being made available both on-line and off-line so that users can share feedback with the GDRL team on improving the library.

The GDRL is a collaborative effort between the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and the University of Iowa's WiderNet Project with funding support from USAID. It is working to bring the best materials on disability rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to developing countries, particularly to locations with limited internet access.

"We are excited to be able to begin sharing the prototype version of the Global Disability Rights Library with the public because we need everyone's help in making it an outstanding resource," says Andrea Shettle, GDRL program manager at USICD. "Disability rights advocates, policy makers, and other stakeholders in developing countries deserve easier access to a rich body of digital knowledge. These websites, videos, and electronic publications can support their work in improving the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries. The GDRL is still very much a work in progress. We need disabled people's organizations, service providers, government personnel, families, and people with disabilities around the world to start using it and telling us how they want us to improve the library."

Under the current USAID funding grant, 60 organizations, universities, and agencies in developing countries with limited internet access will receive a free off-line version of the digital library in an eGranary. An eGranary is a hard drive with an extensive collection of digital resources. An eGranary also has an interface that emulates the appearance and function of the web without requiring actual internet access.

So far, a total of 27 deployment sites have been selected. This includes four locations in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Peru, and Zambia that will join on-line users in closely reviewing the prototype version of the library. The GDRL team will use feedback from the first four deployment sites, along with feedback from on-line users, to improve the library before disseminating it via eGranaries to the other deployment sites. Another 33 deployment sites will be selected after the final September 1, 2011 application deadline. An on-line application form is at http://www.widernet.org/digitallibrary/GDRLSiteSelection/.

People who do have internet access can now visit the on-line version of the prototype GDRL at http://gdrl.org. All GDRL users are encouraged to share their feedback and suggestions for additional digital resources by sending an email to gdrl@usicd.org or to librarian@gdrl.org.

Read more about the GDRL project at: http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/global-disability-rights-library

Contact: Andrea Shettle, Program Manager: Global Disability Rights Library
Telephone: (877) 535-0506; Email: gdrl@usicd.org