Greenstone is a suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. It provides a way of organizing information and publishing it on the web or on removable media such as DVD and USB flash drives. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO. It is open-source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Read the Greenstone Factsheet for more information.
The aim of the Greenstone software is to empower users, particularly in universities, libraries, and other public service institutions, to build their own digital libraries. Digital libraries are radically reforming how information is disseminated and acquired in UNESCO's partner communities and institutions in the fields of education, science and culture around the world, and particularly in developing countries. We hope that this software will encourage the effective deployment of digital libraries to share information and place it in the public domain. Further information can be found in the book How to build a digital library, authored by three of the group's members.
Greenstone software grew out of this project, and this initiative has been endorsed by the Communication Sub-Commission of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO as part of New Zealand's contribution to UNESCO's programme.
The Greenstone project is the seventh recipient of the biennial Namur award, which recognizes recipients for raising awareness internationally of the social implications of information and communication technologies.
The dissemination of educational, scientific and cultural information throughout the world, and particularly its availability in developing countries, is central to UNESCO's goals as pursued within its intergovernmental Information for All Programme, and appropriate, accessible information and communication technology is seen as an important tool in this context.
UNESCO is running regional training workshops on the use of Greenstone.
This project works with UN agencies and other NGOs, and has established a worldwide reputation for digitizing documentation of interest to human development and making it widely available, free of charge to developing nations and on a cost-recovery basis to others.