Creating a collection


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The OLPC Library is the repository all content shipped with the XO laptop. In order to add your content to this repository, you must create a self-contained bundle for your content. This page gives you the information you need to select, format, and package your content bundle.

Selecting Content

The first step to creating your content bundle is to determine what content should be included. In some cases, this is easy: everything! In other cases, however, there are additional considerations:


How big is your collection? If the size of your entire collection is between 5-20MB, you're all set. Otherwise, you'll need to make two bundles-- one bundle of 5-20MB for use on individual laptops, and a second bundle of unlimited (but reasonable) size for inclusion on each school's library server.


Does your collection have a rating system in place? If so, consider including only top-rated material in your content bundle. Otherwise, think about "curating" a selection of high quality material to be included in your bundle (or bundles).


Is your entire collection relevant to children? If so, terrific! If not, consider including only material that will help children learn, explore, and expand their worlds.

Language issues

Does your collection contain material in multiple languages? We hope it does! To the greatest extent possible, please give preference to materials that exist in multiple languages, or that can be easily translated by our localization team.

Licensing issues

What kind of copyright exists on the material in your collection? Do you have legal permission to archive and distribute it? Please be sure to review the licensing terms of your collection. For guidance on licensing, see:

Formatting Content

Once you've determined the material you'd like to include in your content bundle (or, again, bundles-- since in many cases, you'll have to make two), you'll need to format it for use on the XO.

File Formats

The first step of this process is to make sure that your collection is formatted in a file format that is supported by the library. (Other file formats may be supported on the XO, but not within the library). The following is a list of file formats supported by the library:


  • .txt, .doc, .abw - These formats can be read by AbiWord and will launch it from the browser. AbiWord will write .abw files.
  • .pdf - This can be ready by xbook, which launches automatically from the browser when following a link to a pdf.

Multimedia document with layout

  • .html - Parsed by the browser. Source will soon be viewable.
  • .pdf - Read by xbook.

Formatted text

  • .xml, .rss - Read by the browser and by penguinTV (as feeds).


  • .jpeg, .gif, .png/<tt> - These can be viewed by many applications, including the browser.
  • <tt>.svg - 99% supported.


  • .csound - This will be playable by TamTam... currently its XO build doesn't provide a way to save or load sound files, however.
  • .ogg - See other common audio formats below; can be played by Helix or Gstreamer, not part of the current build.
  • .mp3, .wav - These can be played by Helix or Gstreamer, standalone or as a browser plugin, when they are installed.
  • .rm, .ra - This can be played by the Helix plugin when installed with a RealAudio codec.
    Currently, audio files selected in the browser will launch a player if it is present.


  • .ogg - Can be played by Helix or Gstreamer, standalone or as a plugin. These activities aren't in the current build, but there is a good Helix activity that you can download in a few steps. To play video, please download this activity along with some videos (see for instance this video).
  • .mpeg, .mov, .wmv, .rm - See above.



  • The Develop activity will provide one way to view python files; the 'view source key' another.


  • This will viewable the same way page source can be viewed through the browser.

Etoys projects

  • .pr files automatically launch etoys from the browser.

If you have a question about a file format that is not listed above, ask it on the talk page.

Visual Formats

The second step of the formatting process is to make sure that your collection displays correctly on the XO, since the small screen can lead to unexpected visual formatting issues.

The easiest way to do this is to view your material on an XO. If you don't have access to an XO, you can install and run the Sugar emulator on your computer. Emulating the XO has installation instructions.

Packaging Content

Once you've selected and formatted your content, the last thing to do is to package it as a bundle.


What is a content bundle?

A content bundle simply a .zip file with a different name: .xol.

What does a content bundle contain?

Each bundle contains the following items:

  • All content files
  • An index page (HTML) (example)
  • A configuration file (INFO) (example)
  • Any microformatting instructions (XML/CSS) (example)
  • Any customized library icons (various formats) (example)

Packaging Instructions

  1. Create a directory/folder to contain your bundle and copy everything into it. (Nested directories/folders are allowed and, in fact, encouraged.)
  2. Create an index page named index.html that links to your content (or to an extended navigation structure). (example)
  3. Create a configuration file for your bundle named that looks like this: (example). The configuration file should contain the following information:
  • Source
  • Version
  • Subject (location in library)
  • Language
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