Research news and notes from the National Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Education
Digital Library (NSDL) Program [Back Issues]

The Whiteboard Report
May 2007, Issue #114



Exploratorium Sees Geographic Diversity in Use of NSDL Learning Resources Collection
The Exploratorium's Learning Resources Collection, selected from interactive museum exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on science activities, museum magazine articles, Exploratorium web sites, the Children's Education Outreach program, the Exploratorium Teacher Institute, and the Institute for Inquiry, was originally funded by an NSF NSDL Collections grant. Before the launch of the first collection in 2005 an online data collection tool was added to learn about how the collection would be used. Users could voluntarily enter a zipcode before using the collection:

Data show that:
--In just under 2 years, the collection was accessed 8,743 times.
--People who accessed the library included ALL 50 STATES including users from Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
-- Of the valid zipcode entries, the top U.S. states were from California (1450), New York (473), Texas (434), Florida (249), Ohio (217), and Massachusetts (200).
--The counties reported included both urban, suburban, and rural areas.

The Exploratorium is a museum of science, art and human perception based in San Francisco
The Learning Resources Collection has helped to extend the reach of the museum as a nationwide resource. The Exploratorium Learning Resources team also found that some people thought the entry box was a search window, so are in the process of creating another online assessment tool to capture user profiles to understand more about what types of educators use the digital library. For more information contact Sherry Hsi at

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NSDL Mathematics Pathway Offers Easy Access to Mathematics Teaching Resources in Convergence Magazin
Convergence is an online magazine published by the Mathematical Association of America. The site provides online mathematics resources such as easily accessible articles, historical problems, and classroom suggestions that both teachers and students will find useful--no login required.

Convergence offers exciting classroom materials including:
--Expository articles dealing with the history of various topics in the mathematics curriculum, each accompanied by an online discussion group.
--Translations of original sources, with commentary showing the context of the works. --Reviews of current and past books, articles, teaching aids, and websites on the history of mathematics.
--Classroom suggestions.
--Historical problems.
--What Happened Today in History?
--Quotation of the day.
--An up-to-date calendar of meetings dealing with the history of mathematics and its use in teaching.
A recent addition to Convergence is a collection of portraits of mathematicians. You can easily download the ones you want and display them for your classes.
Check out Convergence today, click on either of these links, or copy and paste one into your address browser:
Add your comments here:

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NSDL MatDL Pathway Leads "Cyberdiscovery" Initiative With NSF MSERC Community
In September 2006, the NSDL MatDL Pathway held a workshop with several Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs)
at NSF. There are currently 29 centers located at academic institutions throughout the United States supporting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society.

The Workshop Report, "Support and Integration of Materials Research and Education: Beginning Steps toward Cyberdiscovery," was authored by the Workshop organizers and MRSEC workshop participants. The report provides an analysis of key issues and needs discussed as well as recommended next steps and is available at
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New ASM MicrobeLibrary Atlas CD Just Released
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), a member of the BEN Collaborative who are contributors to the NSDL Biological Sciences Pathway,
has just released the MicrobeLibrary Atlas CD. This CD provides 329 images that portray results from the use of standard microbiology protocols and media such as Gram Stain, Blood Agar, MacConkey Agar, Triple Sugar Iron Agar, and more. The MicrobeLibrary Atlas CD is available for $18.00 plus shipping and handling. To order, visit the ASM eStore at
Orders may also be placed during ASMCUE 2007, May 18 - 20, in Buffalo, New York and during the 107th General Meeting, May 21 - 25, in Toronto, Canada. For more information about MicrobeLibrary, visit, or email

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Now Available In ASM's MicrobeLibrary
--Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, Volume 8
Formerly known as Microbiology Education, the eighth volume of the American Society for Microbiology's Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) features a new name, a new look, and an expanded scope of biology into microbiology education. The table of contents for this edition may be found at < a href="">
Access to the articles in JMBE and FOME requires a MicrobeLibrary subscription. If you are not yet a subscriber, go to
to sign up today. ASM Members may purchase access for $25 per year ($50.00 for non-members).

Next ToolTime Event--TOMORROW May 2--Featuring Content Clips
Please join us for the next ToolTime on Wednesday, May 2nd at 2:00 pm EDT, hosted by NSDL's Community Services Standing Committee. ToolTimes are one-hour web conferences in which projects share their services and collections with the NSDL community. In this session, Lois McLean, Rick Tessman, and Dave Tessman will present their "Content Clips" project. Content (Clips is an easy-to-use, interactive, web environment, designed to help K-12 teachers supplement their curriculum with compelling online resources and activities. The content clips website
allows users to SEARCH the Content Clips collection for online materials, COLLECT clips and activities into personal sets, CREATE personal activities by combining clips with Flash templates, and ASSIGN clips and acitivities to a Clip Zone classroom presentation. Please join us to learn more about this project and share experiences.

To access the conference, go to and enter 4972943 as "participant login". To hear the audio, dial 1-866-740-1260 on your phone and enter 4972943 when prompted. If you have not previously participated in a ReadyTalk conference, it is recommended that you run the browser check prior to the start of Wednesday's ToolTime by visiting, and clicking on "Browser Check" in the Participant Login box. For those unable to attend, a recorded version of the presentation and discussion will be added to the ToolTime archive at Contact Susan Van Gundy
(303-497-2946) with any questions.

News from Columbia Core Integration
Columbia has added four new positions since the beginning of this year in an expansion of our Core Integration work in the areas of NSDL editorial development, metadata policies, virtual learning worlds, and knowledge discovery tools. These new staff members will work in close collaboration with the existing Columbia CI staff in publisher partnerships and access management, as well as with our UCAR, Cornell and Pathways colleagues.

The Editor in Chief position has been filled by Ann Miller, who comes to NSDL with editorial experience in both print and online environments. Ann was Executive Editor at Columbia University Press before coming to the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia to develop online scholarly resources. Ann brings to NSDL skills in working with authors, developing digital scholarly and educational content, and designing teaching resources in response to the needs of both students and faculty.

The Metadata Librarian position has been filled by Dan Eshom, who comes to NSDL from NYU, where he worked as a catalogue Librarian. Before that, Dan worked as a catalogue advisor for McGraw Hill, consulting with the editor of medical content and web programmers on automating the generation of MARC Records. Dan did his library school internship here at the Columbia Libraries, where he developed best practices for describing and classifying electronic publications.

The Programmer position has been filled by Susan Dreher, who comes to NSDL from Rave, Inc., where, as Director of Engineering, she supervised a team of developers. Susan is developing the NSDL Virtual Learning Worlds project, which will explore how the formal and informal education communities are integrating gaming technologies into learning, and how NSDL demonstrates ways to connect the world of digital library science resources to the learning objectives in a gaming environment.

The Knowledge Discovery consultant position has been filled by Michael Jensen, who currently serves as Director of Publishing Technologies at the National Academies Press. Michael will help us address the challenges involved in knowledge discovery in a large, diverse collection of collections like the NSDL by developing tools to facilitate user identification of key search terms. The purpose of these tools will be to encourage and enable serendipitous discovery of content by users and the related ability to make unexpected connections in teaching and learning through use of the NSDL.

The expanded Columbia staff will be meeting with our colleagues within CI and the Pathways projects in the coming months to discuss this new work in more detail and to create collaborations and partnerships with the NSDL community. Please contact Kate Wittenberg for more information

Of Interest in NSDL's Blogosphere
"Meet Me at the Webinar"
Last September, NSDL and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTANSDL Annotation) started a monthly series of free web seminars for science teachers. We didn't know what to expect but now, with nine down and two to go, it's pretty clear that they are a hit. So far, 525 teachers have participated in sessions where live presenters show how to use digital learning resources, with the audience participating and commenting online during the presentation. . . .
"Students Make Their First Entries"
Yesterday, students wrote their first blog entries to Real Place, Virtual Space. The 'virtual worlds' students mention refer to their own private virtual world provided to them through, an outreach program through the Cornell Theory Center. Scicentr uses virtual world technology to disseminate Cornell scientific research and teach students across the STEM disciplines. My students have had so far two meetings 'in-world'. . . .
"Feathered Imposters: Nuthatches Parrot Chickadees"
Chris Templeton of the University of Washington was able to decode the calls of chickadees two years ago, but now his research has unveiled arguably more fascinating a phenomenon: nuthatches are eavesdrops who can decipher these calls as well, and further, imitate them. . . .



DLESE Matters Newsletter
The April 2007 issue of the DLESE Matters newsletter includes: --Resource of interest: Project BudBurst
--Professional development opportunities: Spring 2007 NSTA Web Seminars, Remote Sensing Applications workshop
--DLESE Collections News: Four new collections!
--AAAS Project 2061: Volume 2 of the Atlas of Science Literacy published

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Special issue of Library Review To Focus on "Digital libraries and the Semantic Web"
For many digital libraries or cultural institutions, the Semantic Web offers an opportunity to better expose valuable digital resources pertaining to research, culture or history, using common standards and technologies in a collaborative and 'joined up' way. Semantic Web technologies are capable of enhancing digital libraries or repositories by facilitating improved user interfaces and human-computer interaction, improved navigation and retrieval within heterogeneous document environments, user profiling, personalisation and contextualisation, etc. Such technologies also have the potential to solve or aid the management of problems relevant to the LIS community, such as semantic interoperability, advanced metadata and information integration, the management of large corpora of heterogeneous digital resources, and so forth.

This special themed issue of Library Review aims to demonstrate the relevance and application of Semantic Web technologies to digital libraries, repositories, and the LIS community generally.

--Friday 5th October 2007: deadline for submission of papers
--Monday 5th November 2007: acceptance notification
--Friday 7th December 2007: submission of 'camera ready' version (complete with reviewers' revisions/changes)
--Spring 2008: publication of special issue

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JCDL 2007 Registration Open
The conference will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia from June 18-23. Vancouver is regularly ranked as one of the world's most livable cities. The conference hotel, the Westin Bayshore, is a resort hotel on the water's edge, with sea and mountain views and easy access to the 1000-acre Stanley Park, as well as the city's shopping and restaurants.

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DELOS/NSDL Summer School in Florence
DELOS, a Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries partially funded by the European Commission, and NSDL have joined forces in organizing a Summer School, Digital Libraries for the Digital Librarian Making the Journey from Traditional to Digital Libraries, to be held May 28 - June 2, 2007 in Florence, Italy.

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Widget Watch
It's a widget world. From Google to Apple and even NSDL you can now download interesting, and often quirky, small applications to get you a favored piece of information, or that just make you smile to personalize your homepage or browser. These apps may be small, but in many cases provide access to large datasets such as TemorSkimmer freeware from the National Earthquake Information Service (NEIS) of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Published from 2000 to September 2009, NSDL Whiteboard Report Archives provide access to prior issues of the bi-weekly newsletter published by NSDL. To subscribe to current news and information about NSDL, go to the NSDL Community Network site, register as a user, subscribe to and participate in selected features found there. For more information contact Eileen McIlvain