By Dr. Laura Hosman

On Saturday, March 26, the SolarSPELL team held its first-ever Arabic-language Content Curate-a-thon, to give a rapid boost to the number of resources tagged, cataloged, and ready to be added to our newest offline digital library, which is destined for Northeast Syria later this year.

The event itself featured the history and overview of the SolarSPELL Initiative, and then segued to a training on how to conduct content curation and, even more specifically, how to meta-data tag resources that go into a library. Meta-data tagging is the process of adding information about each resource (author, year of publication, keywords, etc.) that then enables resources to be searched and found (and grouped with similar topics) within the library.  

Our brave volunteers wanted to create a friendly competition amongst themselves, so they divided up into small teams and were so focused that they even had a difficult time tearing themselves away from the meta-data tagging to eat lunch! 

A small team of engineering students organized the entire event, so a special thanks goes out to Anu, Carlos, and Rachel, who are Master’s students in ASU’s Engineering in Global Development course this semester. After helping kick off the event, these students transitioned to another classroom and assisted with quality control, testing, and overall readying of SolarSPELL devices for the field.   

The SolarSPELL team is tremendously excited to be working with the Education Committee in the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria to create this library and look forward to piloting this library in partnership with them later this year.