Hesperian Digital Library
Simon Tan, Matt Gedigian1, Srini Narayanan2 and John F. Canny
The Hesperian Digital Library project builds on the Hesperian Foundation's efforts to offer an open, multilingual, accessible web portal for their community handbooks such as Where There Is No Doctor. This is an ongoing pilot to build a functional online digital library of community health materials as an information repository for both content contributors and health workers in rural communities. The project is also a test bed to address important research issues in the areas of multilingual machine translation, semantic organization of complex networked information, and multimodal user interaction models for search and navigation.
Target users begin with those in the global community surrounding Hesperian, including authors, editors, and health organizations that consume their materials. In addition, the scope of this project expands further to cater to users on a local level (i.e., health workers and those that train them). The lack of literacy in many rural communities introduces the need for alternative interaction models to access the library, which we plan to provide with voice interaction via speech recognition, natural language processing, and text-to-speech. To this end, this project leads into use of the XHTML+Voice W3C standard and a VoiceXML backend that can be shared for both web and telephone interfaces.
Figure 1: The Hesperian Foundation
1School of Information