After its founding 14 years ago, the WiderNet Project’s eGranary Digital Library has served more than 48 countries at more than 900 locations.

And now, the WiderNet Project has created an Ebola Emergency Response Library initiative to combat the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

The eGranary Digital Library was developed as a low-cost information technology alternative that is an off-line collection of more than 32 million digital resources that serves the world’s poor. On Nov. 13, the WiderNet Project is launching version 1.0 of the Ebola Response Library, which will include resources to stop the spread of the disease.

“We’re gathering as much information from CDC, WHO, all these other organizations, and we’re going to distribute all of that on a little chip,” says UNC Clinical Associate Professor (and WiderNet founder) Cliff Missen. “Somebody who has this little chip can put it in a smart phone (or) a laptop – and most importantly, they can copy it.

“We want that information to be spread faster than the disease.”

Cliff Missen. (Photo via

Cliff Missen. (Photo via

Missen was inspired to create the WiderNet Project in 2000 during his teaching stint as a Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria. Missen says he admires the healthcare workers that are fighting Ebola and wants to help as much as possible.

Missen says he travels to Africa and India two to three times a year for training.

“It’s amazing,” Missen says. “People click buttons and they’re seeing this information and they’re looking at me and asking, ‘Is this legal? Can I have this?’

“It’s like they almost get drunk with so much information – and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.”