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What was Project GAIN and who was involved?Project GAIN Cover

Project GAIN was a unique landmark study that I cobbled together using several grants in 1993-1994. It extended Internet connectivity to five rural New York State public libraries, and one Indian Nation school.

Users at these sites included professional and non-professional librarians, library patrons, college students, k-12 students, farmers, tribal leaders, and local government officials.

The acronym, GAIN, stands for Global Access Information Network. We chose it because of the meanings associated with "gain", namely, as in INCREASE-- of knowledge, and of access. We also liked the connotations of "gain" in the electronic amplifier sense: the ratio of increase of output over input. In other words, we hoped the project would have a great and far-reaching impact, beyond the work originally put into it. That has certainly been the case! Other relevant meanings of the word "gain" include EARNINGS; ACHIEVEMENT; and ATTRACTION.

A Description of the GAIN Project

The study was conducted by NYSERNet, Inc. and McClure Associates during 1993 and 1994. It also produced a printed report and a documentary video.

Project GAIN asked: if rural librarians were given the tools and training to use networked information resources, could they do so effectively? Further, how did this improve the quality of service they offered their patrons? Project GAIN sought to determine what would happen to rural communities, typically without access to networked electronic information, when they were linked to a rich and extensive global information environment, the Internet.

This project's implementation objectives were to:

o Connect selected library sites to the Internet.

o Provide the training and support necessary for participants at the various

sites to be able to demonstrate competence in using the suite of Internet

tools provided to them.

o Educate participants as to the resources available on the Internet and how

to discover new ones on their own.

o Integrate utilization of the Internet into the basic activities and services of the library.

o Explore the basic question of whether the Internet (in 1993) was a useful resource for rural libraries, absent cost concerns.

Project GAIN: Connecting Rural Public Libraries to the Internet

Project GAIN 1996 Update