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

The Whiteboard Report
November 2007, Issue #125



What Happened at the Annual Meeting?
NSDL’s Annual Meeting last week attracted 200 passionate digital omnivores who learned about 117 projects by viewing 59 posters and attending 34 sessions in less than two days in Arlington, VA. Remnants from that intellectual explosion can be viewed at the meeting’s home page, which contains the program, abstracts of the posters, a survey where attendees can state their preferences for future conferences, and a list of attendees. You can see more at the “Road Reports” page in NSDL’s Expert Voices blogosphere, which contains descriptions of various panel discussions, an elegy for Bob Peck Chevrolet, and a thoughtful review by conference veteran Susan Jesuroga. And don’t miss the new blog from Lee Zia, Lead Program Director for NSDL at the National Science Foundation, which begins with the newest set of Annual Meeting Haikus.
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NCore's Silent Takeover of NSDL
Earlier this year, the platform that powers NSDL changed and very few people noticed. That was what the developers hoped would happen. The new platform, NCore, made NSDL far more flexible because it is based on the Fedora operating system. NCore allows NSDL to add all kinds of next-generation library services and collaborative tools, a process that is now gaining momentum. Dean Krafft and other developers from NSDL’s Core Integration staff described NCore and these tools at an Annual Meeting session entitled “Working with the NSDL 2.0 Data Repository.” One of those new collaborative tools is the NSDL Wiki, and the topmost link above takes you to a wiki page where developers discuss the many facets of the shift to NSDL 2.0. More information is also available at a November 13 post on the Expert Voices blog "NSDL Highlights."
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DLConnect Shares Workshop Materials
The "Digital Libraries Go To School" project and DLConnect have been conducting different kinds of professional development workshops, both on and off line, to help teachers and librarians learn about NSDL resources and integrate them into their teaching. Now the materials they use for pre-service, one-hour, and two-day training sessions are available online, along with a tour of their popular Instructional Architect (IA) program and samples of learning activities created by teachers using the IA. Get to the materials by going to the link above, clicking on "teachers," then clicking on the subcategory "resources."
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Untangling Copyright Confusion
Copyright law is confusing. Whiteboard Report got it wrong in issue #123 when we reported that early sound recordings were in the public domain; the correct answer is "rarely," according to Peter Hirtle, Intellectual Property Officer for the Cornell University Library. Early recordings were made before federal copyright laws for recordings went into effect, but are still protected by state common law copyrights. The extent of protection available under such laws is unclear, however. Hirtle maintains a chart that illustrates the legal thicket on copyright duration, and his new update reviews the laws on sound recordings and architectural works. Our thanks to him for setting us straight.

This Day in Technology
The Engineering Pathway’s latest feature is a database of engineering and technology events for every day of the year. Currently, the Pathway’s "Today in History" events are displayed in the news area under the left navigation bar. Most days have more than one event , so one event is randomly displayed with each refresh. Discipline-specific events are displayed on the Computer Science Education and Engineering Education Disciplinary Community pages as well. The events are accompanied by a daily blog that gives more details on the events and relates them to educational resources in the Engineering Pathway. Information bits like these are the perfect size for porting to PDAs and cell phones. If you’ve spent time lately around people who are waiting to board an airplane, you know that this is what’s next.



NSF Award to Content Clips
McLean Media has received a new NSF Outreach and Communication grant through the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program. The "Telling STEM Stories through Content Clips" project will present the stories of diverse women scientists for an audience of grades 4 through 8. Content Clips were partly developed through an NSDL Targeted Research study, and they dynamically incorporate diverse resources from distributed digital libraries into online presentations. Principal investigators for the project are Lois McLean and Rick Tessman.

Science Education that Makes Sense
"Research Points" is a quarterly newsletter published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The Summer 2007 issue focuses on science education, and it calls on policymakers to "provide funds so that schools can use today's powerful technologies to support visualization of scientific phenomena." The report adds, "By making sophisticated use of technology, science courses can provide visualizations of complex phenomena that help students connect school science to everyday situations." Extensive research citations are given. The newsletter can be downloaded from AERA's home page.

OAI-ORE Open Meeting
A meeting will be held on March 3, 2008 at Johns Hopkins University to roll-out the first beta release of the specifications for Open Archives Initiative - Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE). These specifications describe a data model to identify and describe aggregations of web resources, and the encoding of the data model in the XML-based Atom syndication format. Registration is required and space is limited.

Child Protection in a Web 2.0 World
The first conference and trade show of the Family Online Security Institute will be held on Thursday, December 6, 2007 in Washington, DC. An opening panel will feature federal communications officials from the United States, Australia, and the UK discussing the challenges of regulating Internet content for child protection. A trade show later that day will will showcase online safety technologies from around the world. The Family Online Security Institute (FOSI) is a new trade association that bills itself as "the place where technology and policy stakeholders meet in the field of family online safety, while respecting the free expression rights of content providers."


Exploratorium in Second Life">
On March 29 2006, the science museum Exploratorium created an event on the site The avatars of 70 people gathered in a virtual copy of a Turkish ampitheater from 200 A.D., the same site where an actual solar eclipse was being filmed by NASA, to watch the eclipse on their screens and trade comments. "There was a great moment when the screen showed the ampitheater, which was full of Turkish children looking at the eclipse through sunglasses," says Rob Rothfarb, the museum's director of web development. "The Second Life version showed avatars in a virtual copy of the site looking at real people in the real site."

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