Ask Gets Smart For Children

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Ask.com has added something new to their Smart Answer collection by making the International Children’s Digital Library available as a top-of-page resource for children’s literature-related queries.

We hear far too often tales of the dangers of the Internet. Spending much time with the mainstream media will make one think that every profile out there conceals a vicious predator, every link goes to a website stuffed with content that would make the most open-minded person hit the Close button like they were playing Whack A Mole.

It’s enough to make people yank their kids off the Web for good. That would be a shame because while the bad stuff makes headlines, the good stuff outweighs the bad. Some of the good things are really neat, and fortunately Gary Price at Ask has brought a new resource to our attention.

The International Children’s Digital Library has been created by the University of Maryland with an assist from the Internet Archive. Their intent was to assemble a world class library online of outstanding children’s books.

To get the best benefit from the Library, people have to be made aware of it. Gary, a librarian by training, suggested the Smart Answer team at Ask could help with this. They have, and now a number of queries like children’s books and related searches on Ask will pop the Library up in the Smart Answer area.

Gary feels that whether one has kids or not, the user interface at the Library deserves a look. A look at the Simple Search page shows how the Library uses age groups, characters, and even colors to enable children to find something to read.

Search results show up in a center box, and the Ajax interface allows the visitor to go from one group of thumbnails to the next without leaving the page. Choose a book to read, and you find nice big scans of colorful pages displayed on the monitor.

While the Internet is not a place to let younger children wander around without guidance (and the same could be said for some adults), there are sites that will help them be better for seeing them. Maybe that’s the Smart Answer critics of the Internet need to see themselves.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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