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

The Whiteboard Report
January 2008, Issue #128



New Home Page For Chemistry Pathway
Live on the web--it's the Periodic Table! The new home page of Chemistry Pathway includes a point-and-click guide to each element, along with several other features that make web resources on chemistry easier to use. "ChemEd DLib will create new communities centered around different educational levels," says Pathway PI John Moore. "It will provide resources in different sub-disciplines of chemistry and different pedagogical areas, such as problem-based learning." The new site makes digital resources on chemistry much easier to find, and it gives a prominent position to the award-winning "Chemistry Comes Alive!" videos, with their slow-motion presentations of fires, explosions, and other chemical reactions.
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ARL to Educators: Go Ahead, Mash Up
Three recent court decisions should reassure educators who wonder whether it is legal for them to re-use copyrighted material. In a paper released last month by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Jonathan Band explains recent legal decisions that permit extensive copying and display of copyrighted material on commercial sites because the uses involve "repurposing" and "recontextualization." In Perfect 10 V., the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a thumbnail-sized image of a copyrighted photograph is a "transformative use" and is therefore protected by the fair use privilege by the copyright act. Similar rulings were recently handed down in favor of an artist who re-used portions of a fashion photograph, and a publisher who reproduced copyrighted posters in a book. Band’s paper "Educational Fair Use Today" is available for free download at the ARL’s website.
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Sullivan Honored by Engineering Academy
Jacquelyn Sullivan, co-PI of Engineering Pathway, has been awarded the 2006 Bernard M. Gordon Prize by the National Academy of Engineering. The $500,000 prize was awarded to Sullivan and co-founder Larry Carlson for their 15-year-old Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, which has become a national model for K-16 engineering education. "The recognition will help our program springboard into the future," says Sullivan. "We will learn more about how youth form relationships with engineering at an early age, and how hands-on, authentic learning can connect young men and women (especially those under-represented in engineering) with the profession on a personal level."
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Landmark Victory for Open Access
A three-year lobbying effort by the Open Access movement bore fruit the day after Christmas, when President Bush signed an appropriations bill containing a provision that requires the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide open public access to all of the research it funds. The victory is not complete, according to a January 7 post on the website of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). New NIH research does not have to be published for a year, and the Association of American Publishers has vowed to fight. But the new rule is the first Open Access mandate for a major public funding agency in the US, so it's a landmark.
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Teachers Domain Seeks Campus Input
WGBH-Boston asks post-secondary faculty and students to share their ideas on how the Teachers' Domain Rich-Media Pathways site can be made more useful to post-secondary audiences. The survey is the first phase of work on a supplementary grant to create a College Edition of Teachers' Domain. It is open until Friday, January 18, and it takes about 30 minutes to complete. The more input the survey receives, the more helpful the College Edition should be, so please visit and share your thoughts.
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Spring 2008 NSDL/NSTA Web Seminars
Two scientists from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography will present "Earth in Reverse: Magnetic Wiggles on the Ocean Floor," the second web seminar in the spring 2008 series sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association and NSDL. The January 29 seminar on ocean geoscience will be followed by "Flower Bulb Science" on February 7, "Under the Microscope; Using Images to Enhance Inquiry" on March 11, "Using Online Life Science Resources in Middle School Classrooms" on April 1, "Polar Geography" on May 27, and "Enlightening Experiences with Energy" on June 12. The seminars are designed for science teachers in grades 7 through 12, and pre-registration is required.
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How Journals Will Move Online
Small academic journals face a difficult transition, according to report posted on the web site of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) last month. Publishers and libraries are struggling with the demands of maintaining journals in both print and online formats, and the greatest pressure is on the smallest journals. Richard Johnson and Judy Luther interviewed two dozen librarians and publishers to identify the trends driving journals to electronic-only publishing and the barriers that are slowing change. Their report, "The E-only Tipping point for Journals," is available for free download at the ARL's website.
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Call for Proposals: Fedora Users' Group
Fedora Commons invites proposals for the next Fedora User Group Meeting, to be held in conjunction with the Open Repositories 2008 conference, April 1-4 at the University of Southampton, UK. Developers, researchers and practitioners are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute presentations describing their experiences implementing and using Fedora, or developing software associated with Fedora. The deadline for online submissions of a title and an abstract of up to 400 words is February 4th, 2008.
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Fedora 3.0 Available in Beta
The 12th release of the popular Fedora software is now available for testing. The first beta version of Fedora 3.0 featuring a Content Model Architecture (CMA), an integrated structure for persisting and delivering the essential characteristics of digital objects in Fedora, is available at the Fedora Commons website. The Fedora CMA plays a central role in the Fedora architecture, in many ways forming the over-arching conceptual framework for future development of Fedora Repositories.
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UMD’s New DL Features World’s Fairs
The new digital repository of the University of Maryland Libraries is based on the Fedora platform and uses Lucene for indexing and Helix for streaming video. The repository features almost 2,500 digital objects across a wide variety of topics, with new objects added monthly and cross-collection discovery enabled through a common metadata scheme and controlled vocabulary. One browse-worthy collection explores the archives of Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets; another (above) displays materials from 32 World’s Fairs and Exhibitions that have been held between 1851 and 1970.
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Top Conversation-Starter of 2007
"Did You Know?" originally started out as a PowerPoint presentation made by teacher Karl Fisch to a faculty meeting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. Fisch wanted to make his colleagues aware of the scope and speed of economic and knowledge transitions across the world, and he also wanted to stimulate conversations about how educators should respond. "We need to reexamine formal education as it's currently being experienced by our students," he says. "We owe it to our children to do everything we can to improve." The presentation was posted on the Web in February 2007. Eleven months later, a professionally updated version has been seen by at least 10 million people on the web and at conferences, workshops, training institutes, and other venues.
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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