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

The Whiteboard Report
October 2007, Issue #123



Shodor Honored by Cisco and ALA
Shodor Inc., the NSDL Pathways partner for computational science, has been awarded the grand prize for nonprofit organizations in Cisco Inc.’s annual Growing with Technology Awards. “We’re honored to receive this national distinction for our work,” said Dr. Robert Panoff, president and executive director. “We started in 1995 with one Cisco router, one Cisco switch, and three computational science tools.” Today, Shodor’s website averages more than 3 million page views a month. Cisco’s awards recognize small and midsize organizations that use networking technology in innovative ways. A panel of 10 judges selected 15 winners in five categories from more than 570 applications. “Shodor is ahead of its peers in terms of being a smart business,” said Peter Alexander, vice president of Business Marketing at Cisco. “We hope other organizations will be inspired by Shodor’s creative and resourceful approach.”

When it rains, it pours. Shodor was also named as one of the Best Free Reference Web Sites of 2007 last week by the Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS) of the American Library Association.
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Comment on NDSL Privacy and Collections Policies
The NSDL Policy Committee seeks community comment on two proposed NSDL policy drafts: a Collections Development Policy and a revised Privacy Policy. The Expert Voices blog contains links to both drafts, along with an accompanying non-policy document that provides recommendations supporting privacy policy implementation. Both policy drafts outline NSDL’s approaches to these critical areas of library development and interaction. The policies will be finalized at the NSDL Annual Meeting on November 8.
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STARS Alliance De-Geekifies Computing
The STARS Alliance (Students & Technology in Academia, Research, and Service) is a NSF-funded program that proves that the next generation of computer scientists does not have to be, as one speaker put it, “white guys with glasses who talk in a monotone.” Although their total numbers are still small, the black and Latino college students studying computer science who gathered at the fourth Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing this week looked pretty much like college students do everywhere. Eve Powell, of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, described one recent student project that allows you to sketch out a routine for a break-dancing avatar. The STARS Alliance is active on about 20 college campuses in the Southeast, says Jan Cuny, program director for the Broadening Partipating in Computing program at the National Science Foundation.

National Chemistry Week
Next Monday marks the 20th anniversary of National Chemistry Week, and the High School Chemistry Club in Niles, Illinois has been getting ready by exploding balloons filled with hydrogen, oxygen, and a mixture, then noting the differences in sound and force. “It makes the students excited and enthusiastic about science,” says club advisor Ami LeFevre. The 182 local sections of the American Chemical Society will hold demonstrations at malls, schools, museums, and stores, with a special emphasis on introducing elementary and middle school students to this year’s theme, “The Many Faces of Chemistry.” Niles High School is one of about 60 Chemistry Clubs supported by an ACS pilot project, with a formal launch anticipated next fall.
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Chemistry Comes Alive Again October 23rd
NSDL celebrates Chemistry Week with its next web seminar, on October 23rd from 6:30pm to 8:00pm eastern time. This second session by the “Chemistry Comes Alive” team will focus on solubility, polarity, and other chemistry related topics through fun classroom activities and background content to support these activities. Dr. John Moore, W. T. Lippincott Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and editor of the Journal of Chemical Education, will join Dr. Lynn Diener, Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin, to describe resources from the NSDL Chemistry Pathway that will make chemistry come alive for students. Free pre-registration is required:

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Call For NSF Proposals: Data Preservation and Access
The NSF’s DataNet program aims to support new types of digital data preservation and access organizations that combine expertise in library and archival sciences, computer, computational, and information sciences, cyberinfrastructure, and domain sciences and engineering These organizations should develop models for economic and technological sustainability over multiple decades; engage at the frontiers of science and engineering research and education as an information resource, an object of research, and a research entity; and work cooperatively to create a functional data network with revolutionary new capabilities for information access. An informational meeting for prospective Principal Investigators will be held 10 am to noon, Tuesday, November 6, 2007, Room 595 NSF Stafford II building, Arlington, Virginia. The meeting will be webcast for remote viewing and archived for delayed viewing. Details will be posted on the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) web page or may be obtained by contacting any of the program contacts listed on this solicitation or calling OCI at 703-292-8970. OCI Webpage:

Call for NSF Proposals: Science/Engineering Research (REESE)
The NSF’s Research and Evaluation in Science and Engineering (REESE) program is dedicated to advancing research at the frontiers of learning, education, and evaluation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Proposals are solicited that will provide the foundation knowledge necessary to improve STEM teaching and learning at all education levels and in all settings. It is anticipated that a total of $30 million will be awarded. Optional letters of intent are due by November 8, and the proposal deadline is January 8, 2008.
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Future of Scholarly Communication
Six months ago, the NSF and the British Joint Information Systems Committee co-sponsored a workshop on the possibilities of data-driven science and scholarship. Their final report discusses the technical and organizational problems associated with analyzing large amounts of data, the changing word of scholarly communication, and other subjects.


“I’m Looking For Something To Eat”
Some of the earliest surviving recorded sounds are available at the site of the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project. This collection of the Donald Davidson Library at the University of California, Santa Barbara consists of about 7,000 songs and performances recorded on wax cylinders between 1894 and the 1920s. They are all available for free and legal downloading, since they were recorded before copyright laws. They are educational, occasionally baffling, and always fun. If you’re watching your weight, don’t miss the title track by Miss Stella Mayhew (1909).
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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