Adapting Hesperian Books


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  This page is part of the OLPC Health Project. Hardware | Software | Content | Health Jam
XO Caudecus

We are working on getting Hesperian Books in the hands of the people who need them the most. Hesperian Books are released under a copyleft license and can freely be distributed. We also have formally gotten permission from them to include the books on the laptops.



Hesperian is a non-profit organization who creates prints and pdf's of basic healthcare information for the developing world. Anna B is our contact with Hesperian and is an active contributor to Health related projects.

Basic Idea

Pascal Scheffers was working on InDesign scripting to output the PDF documents into html+css for display on the XO. This has since stopped for a number of reasons:

  • 30+ hours of battling with InDesign - and it doesn't do the job as advertised

Luckily the books don't need to be translated to HTML:

  • The books already come in PDF format (separated by chapter), and have just been merged. It still needs to be bundled for easy upgrades.
  • To actually convert them into html would require reading every book more than once to make sure that everything is correct.
  • Translations are underway for 100 languages: [1]

Concerns from the community

After talking to medical professionals who work on building hospitals in developing countries, they had mentioned that it would be a very bad idea (from a security perspective) to have people download the books - they wanted to have them on the laptops when they are deployed. This would make it much more difficult to modify/tamper with the books.

Since speaking with them Mick Weiss has been trying to get in touch with the right people to get these books on the laptops, and to the people who can use the information in the books.

Current Issues

  • We need to find a way to let the deployments know about these books
  • While the book is translated into 100+ languages, it is all done outside of the Hesperian foundation. Every translation group/organization would need to be contacted separately
  • The only available (that is to say reliable) translation is in Spanish.
  • We would need to find doctors who can review the translations for each language (that was not translated by the Hesperian Foundation). This is a serious undertaking, though we should focus on places where the xo is being deployed.

What needs to be done

  • We need to merge the PDFs and make a Library bundle as those at Library grid. The Library bundle can then be included in the image with a Customization key
  • We need to get deployments involved. Currently, AndrĂ©s Ambrois is helping with getting LATU and/or ANEP (Uruguay deployments) involved.

Deployments and Hesperian translations

  • The Khmer translation of WTND is going to be done soon, Mick has been in contact with the translator. The current deployments have not been contacted yet though.

You can help

If you happen to know the right people who can make the necessary things happen to get these very important books to areas where there are no doctors and dentists, please let Mick Weiss know. If you are a translator, part of a deployment, or a medical professional - your help would be much appreciated.

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