Research goals


The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) is a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to create a digital library of international children's books.


This five-year research project has 5 primary goals:

  1. To create a collection of more than 10,000 books in at least 100 languages that is freely available to children, teachers, librarians, parents, and scholars throughout the world via the Internet;
  2. To collaborate with children as design partners in the development of computer interface technologies that support children in searching, browsing, reading, and sharing books in electronic form;
  3. To better understand the concepts of rights management and "fair use" in a digital age;
  4. To evaluate the impact that access to digital materials may have on collection development and programming practices in school and public libraries; and,
  5. To develop a greater understanding of the relationship between children's access to a digital collection of multicultural materials and children's attitudes toward books, libraries, reading, technology, and other countries and cultures.


The materials included in the collection reflect similarities and differences in cultures, societies, interests, lifestyles, and priorities of peoples around the world. The collection's focus is on identifying materials that help children to understand the world around them and the global society in which they live. It is hoped that through a greater understanding of one another that tolerance and acceptance can be achieved.


The collection has two primary audiences. The first audience is children ages 3-13, as well as librarians, teachers, parents, and caregivers, who work with children of these ages. The second audience is international scholars and researchers in the area of children's literature.