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The Program in West Philadelphia Information Systems (PWEPIS) is organizing a database of the West Philadelphia area on the World Wide Web. Assistant Director of PWEPIS Elisa Forgey predicted that the database will be the largest of its kind in the nation. The primary goal of PWEPIS is to consolidate information about West Philadelphia in an easily accessible format useful to community organizations, researchers in Philadelphia and across the country, students of all levels, teachers, businesses and policy makers. "We want to participate in the revitalization of West Philadelphia in a comprehensive manner, working with the Internet on interrelated levels," Forgey said. Forgey added that PWEPIS seeks to "rejuvenate the region" by integrating the efforts of local schools, universities, governmental agencies, businesses, research institutes and community organizations. "We are aiming to develop a viable consortium that joins the community in one central organ such that information is easier to access," she said. The database project consists of three categories, including a comprehensive annotated bibliography of media dealing with West Philadelphia's history and demographic makeup. The bibliography will include published and unpublished documents, a complete listing of the locations of each entry and the full text of some important manuscripts. Forgey is also creating a quality-of-life index based on census and survey data to be used by policy makers and planners.The index will also include interviews primarily conducted by undergraduate students at Drexel University and Penn. The third component of the project is an interactive history page to be used by teachers and students. The page will include local history of the area's schools, historical photos, maps, reproductions of primary documents, excerpts from interviews and suggestions for further readings. It will also include short films and brief overviews of various historical periods and events. PWEPIS began as a consortial agreement between Penn's Center for Community Partnerships, academic departments and libraries and Drexel. "We are hoping to expand the consortium to encompass other institutions and libraries in the Philadelphia region," Forgey said. History Professor Emeritus and co-Director of PWEPIS Lee Benson conceived the idea, according to Forgey. "We are designing the database to be quite interactive and user friendly so students can use it," Forgey said. Undergraduates involved in academically-based community service courses are participating in the program as well.

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