Center for Digital Literacy

We are dedicated to understanding the impact of information, technology and media literacies on children and adults in today’s technology-intensive society.

Virtual Collaboration

The CDL, founded in 2003, is a virtual interdisciplinary, collaborative research and development center at Syracuse University.

Our interdisciplinary approach allows us to collaborate across the iSchool, Syracuse University and the U.S., looking at issues from a variety of perspectives and exchanging ideas that broaden and enlighten approaches to research in this area.


Our projects explore the impact having or not having information technology and media literacies has on people (particularly those from underserved populations), organizations, and society.

Innovation is the very essence of the American spirit, requiring a combination of effective inquiry, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills, mixed with the curiosity and perseverance for seeking viable solutions to problems. While all children have creative potential, often their innovative behaviors thrive and endure only if supported and nurtured.

With today’s emphasis in schools on rigid curricula, standards, and testing, it becomes increasingly unlikely that many students will stretch their imaginations, act on their curiosity to seek answers to questions that go beyond the curriculum, or allow themselves to explore perplexing issues that pique their interest. So, what causes some children and adults to be curious, explore, and develop and maintain a desire to invent new ways of doing things that help themselves and others? That is the fundamental question behind this line of research and development.

Through a series of grants from the Kauffman Foundation and IMLS, we have studied the processes (both thought and actions) used by child and adult inventors with emphasis on what motivates their thinking and actions, the barriers to success they face, and the factors that increase their persistence and sustain their motivation to invent. Much of our focus has been on children (K-8) with plans to expand to high school and college age youth.

For more information about this project, please visit our project website where you’ll find a searchable video database of interviews with young inventors nationwide, mentor training for librarians or teachers who wish to mentor the young innovators in their schools and much more.

Visit the website

In response to CDL research indicating that many school, public and academic librarians lack the knowledge and skills critical to providing the most effective library and information services, resources, and programs to the patrons with disabilities in their communities, Project ENABLE provides free, comprehensive, self-paced online training in this area.

This multimedia and highly interactive training site targets the situations and experiences of libraries and librarians To date, Project ENABLE has received or collaborated on several IMLS grants. We are committed to constantly updating, enhancing and enriching Project ENABLE content and delivery methods, using unique and innovative approaches. Our newest addition to the site is a Train the Trainer section for libraries or library systems that wish to provide in-house training to transform their libraries into accessible spaces and their librarians into inclusive librarians.

Visit the website

Get in touch.

Interested in working with the Center for Digital Literacy? Email Dr. Ruth Small.