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

The National Science Digital Library Whiteboard Report

July 2008 Issue #137






New Collections in the Engineering Pathway

The Engineering Pathway's two core collections, Teach Engineering (K-12) and NEEDS (Higher Education), have long been available at the NSDL repository. The Engineering Pathway has partnered with additional engineering education communities to add eight new collections and 2,457 new records. These new collections are now available at, and through the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) Version 2, development by the Open Archives Initiative.

ACM Women in Computing Advances in Engineering Education Broadening Participation in Computing Center for Sustainable Engineering International Journal of Engineering Education Pr2ove-It (National Academy of Engineering) Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List VaNTH ERC for Bioengineering Educational Technologies The new collections are co-branded with the Engineering Pathway on the NSDL repository. See:,

Chemistry Pathway "Chemistry Comes Alive" Resource Featured in iTunes Spotlight Promotion

Navigate to iTunes U > National Science Digital Library > Chemistry, and find the Chemistry Comes Alive! collection featured as the number one NSDL download. On July 1 Chemistry Comes Alive! was featured in the iTunes U Spotlight: The Classics distributed by the iTunes Store.

New Web-Based Collection of Open Source Physics Resources

The Open Source Physics project (OSP) and the ComPADRE digital library are pleased to announce the creation of a new web-based collection of OSP resources. The OSP Collection provides curriculum resources that engage students in physics, computation, and computer modeling. Computational physics and computer modeling provide students with new ways to understand, describe, explain, and predict physical phenomena. The materials in the collection connect computational simulations, models, and tools with curricular resources. Registered users of the library (registration is free) can build personal collections of materials, comment on resources, and submit materials for consideration by the OSP Editors.

More information about the Open Source Physics project is available at OSP is supported in part by NSF grants DUE-0126439 and DUE-0442481, and ComPADRE is supported in part by NSF grants DUE-0226192 and DUE-0532798.

New in MicrobeLibrary

A new issue of Focus on Microbiology Education (FOME) newsmagazine that emphasizes outreach to high and middle school students has been published in the American Society for Microbiology's (ASM) MicrobeLibrary. Also freely available for downloading, are nine new visual resources.

Scholarship Plus Engineering Resources for Education

The Engineering Pathway (EP) has launched a new effort to link high quality learning resources to related scholarship in engineering education. EP has added "Education Research Paper" as a searchable learning resource type and added over 500 scholarly papers from the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE)'s Pr2ove-it collection. These resources describe efforts to enhance student learning, retention and professional success in higher education in engineering and computing. The Pr2ove-it collection characterizes research papers with respect to their self-reported pedagogical innovations and assessed impact on student learning and retention. In addition, all new peer-reviewed articles from the International Journal of Engineering Education are being cataloged as well, adding to the scholarship in engineering education available in EP. Where relevant, the engineering education journal papers are linked to the related learning resources, showing the synergy of having a consolidated digital library in engineering and computing that combines teaching resources with educational scholarship and community feedback. As an example, view the "Integrated Virtual Learning System for Programmable Logic Controllers" courseware at: with links to peer-reviewed publications in the Pr2ove-it and the International Journal of Engineering Education collections in the EP.

Chemistry Moodle Blossoms

At the Chemical Education Digital Library (ChemEd DL) the Moodle classroom management system is used to host a number of courses. Lately the Moodle webpage is becoming a hot bed of activity. The ChemEd DL Moodle has blossomed from one course, teaching workshop participants about the resources available in the ChemEd DL and how to use them, into 6 courses, all focused in some way on Chemical Education. Anyone with an interest in chemistry is invited to sign up for an account and enroll in any appealing open enrollment courses. In addition new course instructors are welcome at any time. You may also use the ChemEd DL's software and server to host your own chemistry-related course--please contact us.

Microscopic Winners: MicrobeLibrary Announces the Winners of the 2008 Editors' Choice Awards

The ASM MicrobeLibrary is pleased to announce the winners of the 2008 Curriculum and Visual Editors' Choice Awards. Each year, the MicrobeLibrary Curriculum and Visual editorial committees present the Editors' Choice Award to one curriculum resource and two visual resources (one animation and one still image) published over the past year. The chosen resources exemplify the criteria for publication in the MicrobeLibrary.

2008 Curriculum Collection Editors' Choice Award Winner Immunity and The Spread of Influenza Within a Population By Michelle Furlong and Renee McFarlane, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA 2008 Visual Collection Editors' Choice Award Winners Animation The ATP-Binding Cassette System Gary Kaiser, The Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville Campus, Baltimore, MD Still Image Endospore and Parasporal Body Formation by Bacillus thuringiensis By Rita Moyes, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX and;Robert Droleskey, USDA, ARS, Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, TX.

NCore Web Site Launches

This new web site provides easy-to-use access to the tools and standards that power the NSDL. NCore next-generation, open source digital library framework based on Fedora Commons open source repository software provide users, developers, information managers and decision-makers with systems for description, organization, interrelation, and annotation of resources. Other tools and services support the creation, organization, and indexing of resource references and metadata in the library. Together NCore tools for discovery, creation, annotation and organization form a dynamic information layer on top of library resources and metadata.

On the Road With Expert Voices

From the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) to the Special Libraries Association Meeting and the global Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, tune in to current research and initiatives highlights from national and international gatherings in NSDL's Road Reports.

Now Available: Beta Two Release of Content Model-driven Fedora 3.0

The second beta release of the popular Fedora software is now available for testing. The second beta version of Fedora 3.0 completes most of the features planned for the general release of the software. As Dan Davis, Chief Software Architect, Fedora Commons, explains, "This release is ready for early adopters to use as a test and development platform to prepare for Fedora 3.0. While there are a few features and documentation to complete, most of the work left to be done is extensive testing including scalability and to ensure the quality of the final product."

Fedora 3.0 features the Content Model Architecture (CMA), an integrated structure for persisting and delivering the essential characteristics of digital objects in Fedora. The software is available at and at 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.

Like a well-thumbed book on a shelf, digital content is stored with the expectation that intellectual works will be the same each time they are accessed, whether the content was put away yesterday, or many years ago. Fedora is a simple, flexible and evolvable approach to delivering and sharing the "essential characteristics" of enduring digital content. Librarians, archivists, records managers, media producers, authors and publishers use patterns of expression formats such as books, journals, articles, collections to convey the essential characteristics of content. The capabilities of digital tools combined with essential characteristics of digital works result in well-understood patterns of expression for different types of content models.

The software engineering community also utilizes patterns of expression for the development of complex computer systems. The same concepts that satisfy agile IT infrastructures can help provide solutions for creating, accessing and preserving content. The Fedora CMA builds on the Fedora architecture-downloaded more than 18,000 times in the last 12 months - to simplify use while unlocking potential.

Dan Davis explains the CMA in the context of Fedora 3.0, "It's a hybrid. The Fedora CMA handles content models that are used by publishers and others, and is also a computer model that describes an information representation and processing architecture." By combining these viewpoints, Fedora CMA has the potential to provide a way to build an interoperable repository for integrated information access within organizations and to provide durable access to our intellectual works.

We encourage the Fedora community to download and experiment with Fedora 3.0 Beta 2. It is particularly important to receive comments while the software is still being developed to help ensure this important update to the Fedora architecture meets the needs of the community. Please contribute your observations and comments to or Fedora 2.2.2 will remain available for all production repository instances.


The release of Fedora 3.0 is made possible by a collaborative partnership with community developers and the Fedora core software development team that include: Chris Wilper (Fedora Commons), Eddie Shin (Fedora Commons), Bill Branan (Fedora Commons), Robert Haschart (Fedora Commons), Ross Wayland (Fedora Commons), Gert Schmeltz Pedersen, Matt Zumwalt (API-M LITE, Media Shelf), Cuong Tran (API-M LITE, Digital Innovation South Africa), and many others.

Call for Entries: Second Annual Sparky Video Contest Spotlights Student Views on Information Sharing

Six library, student, and advocacy organizations have announced the Second Annual Sparky Awards, a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing and aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by inviting students to express their views creatively.

The 2008 contest theme is "MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing." Well-suited for adoption as a college class assignment, the Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with a Sparky Award statuette. Two runners-up will each receive $500 plus a personalized award certificate. At the discretion of the judges, additional special merit awards may be designated. The award-winning videos will be screened at the January 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Denver.

Entries must be received by November 30, 2008. Winners will be announced in January 2009. For details, see the contest Web site.

Build a Better Engineering Course: Call for Submissions 2008 Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware

NEEDS, John Wiley & Sons, Microsoft Research, Techsmith and Autodesk are pleased to announce the 2008 Premier Award competition. The Premier Award recognizes high-quality, non-commercial courseware designed to enhance engineering education. Beyond just recognizing outstanding courseware, the Premier Award evaluates and acknowledges exceptional learning experiences. Since 1997, twenty-eight outstanding courseware packages and learning experiences have been rewarded. If you or someone you know has developed non-commercial courseware or exceptional web sites designed to enhance engineering education, please consider submitting for the Premier Award.

Please visit our website for information regarding submissions, prizes, past winners, sponsors, etc. You may download the Premier Award call for submission flyer at The winner(s) will be announced and prizes awarded at the 2008 Frontiers in Education Conference on October 22-25, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Important Dates:

July 11, 2008 - Submissions Due by 5 PM MT October 22-25, 2008 - Winner(s) Presented at the FIE 2008 Conference.


Summertime Fedora Commons User Meetings and Events

Fedora open source repository platform users are planning meetings and events in Canada and Europe throughout the summer and early fall. Take a look at upcoming opportunities to share ideas and information. Contact organizers for information about how to participate.

-Dutch Fedora Users will meet on June 19. Contact Lodewijk Bogaards.

-Scandanavian Fedora Users will meet on June 24. Contact Eva Muller.

-UK & Ireland Fedora Users will meet on July 8. Contact Richard Green or Chris Awre.

-The Red Island Repository Institute will be held on Prince Edward Island August 11-15, 2008. This 1-week hands-on workshop will be led by Sandy Payette, Fedora Commons Executive Director; Richard Green, Manager, RIDIR, REMAP and RepoMMan Projects, e-SIG, Academic Services, University of Hull, and; Matt Zumwalt, MediaShelf. Contact Mark Leggott.

-A Fedora EU inaugural event is planned for Sept. 19 in coordination with the 12th European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL) to be held in Aarhus, Denmark. Event details will be available soon. Contact David Flanders .

Chemistry Workshops for Wisconsin Teachers

The Chemical Education Digital Library (ChemEd DL) is now hosting local workshops for chemistry teachers in Wisconsin. These workshops are designed to introduce teachers, from Middle School through College professors, to the resources found in the ChemEd DL. We will use this experience to help design a Moodle course ( focused on helping others deliver ChemEd DL workshops. It will give course members ideas about recruiting participants to their own local workshops on the ChemEd DL as well as ideas about what to cover and how to cover it.

"Bar Camp" at the Library of Congress

A unique series of collaborative outreach events sponsored by the JISC Common Repository Interfaces Group (CRIG) are being led by a team of award-winning British developers. These "Repository Road Shows" are designed to prove that, "The coolest thing to do with your data will be thought of by someone else." The Repository Roadshow tour will wrap up at the Library of Congress on July 25, 2008.

RepoCamp is a one-day free and open event where folks who are interested in managing and creating digital repository software and their contents can gather to share ideas, innovations, trials and tribulations, and implement solutions.

Bar Camp is co-sponsored by the JISC Common Repository Interfaces Working Group and the Library of Congress. RepoCamp will mark the end of the "US tour", so you can expect to hear stories about what the Bar Camp team learned during their travels.

One of the key goals of the event is to practically explore what repository interoperability means and to hack on solutions. But the space can definitely be used to explore other aspects of digital repository work. If you use off-the -shelf software like Fedora, DSpace, EPrints, Omeka, Drupal, etc. or write your own software for depositing, managing, accessing digital content you will fit right in.

All are welcome. If you are interested in attending please sign up on the wiki, and add your ideas for the event. The invite/password to edit the pages is 'c4mp'.

Thought-leaders in Policy, Innovation and Advocacy at SPARC Digital Repositories Fall Meeting

Higher-education leader David Shulenburger, Science Commons head John Wilbanks, and marketing communications strategist Bob Witeck are keynote speakers slated for the SPARC Digital Repositories Meeting 2008 in Baltimore on November 17-18. The international gathering, organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) in cooperation with SPARC Europe, and SPARC Japan (a Japan National Informatics Institute initiative), will

offer a practical exploration of how open online archives hosted by universities, colleges, and government agencies can enhance their service to scholars, institutions, and the public.

In the opening keynote address, John Wilbanks, Vice President for Science at Creative Commons and director of the Science Commons program, will provide his unique and inspiring vision for the potential of a fully enabled research Web. The following day, Bob Witeck, CEO and co-founder of Witeck-Combs Communications, a renowned marketing communications and public relations agency in Washington, DC, will tackle how repository advocates can introduce their services to campus and agency communities. David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the National Association of State University and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) will wrap up the meeting with a public policy perspective on the emerging role of open digital repositories.

Joining the keynoters are speakers and panelists from around the world, who will look at four conference program areas - The Policy Environment, New Horizons, Value-added User Services, and Campus Publishing Strategies. Invited speakers include: Sayeed Choudhury (Johns Hopkins University, USA), Rea Devakos (University of Toronto T-Space, Canada), Norbert Lossau (Goettingen State and University Library and DRIVER, Germany), Bernard Rentier (University of Liege, Belgium), and Syun Tutiya (Chiba University, Japan). Additional speakers are to be selected by an expert program committee from submitted proposals.

The SPARC Digital Repositories Meeting 2008 is supported by major contributions from Microsoft (Conference Sponsor) and Berkeley Electronic Press (Coffee Break Sponsor), and by additional contributions from a number of Supporting Organizations, including: the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), the DSpace Foundation, Fedora Commons, Hewlett-Packard (HP), the Japanese Coordinating Committee for University Libraries, JISC (the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee), and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO).

The program is being developed by the members of the 2008 Program Committee: Jun Adachi (SPARC Japan), Raym Crow (SPARC), Richard Fyffe (Grinnell College), Susan Gibbons (University of Rochester), Melissa Hagemann (Open Society Institute), Karla Hahn (Association of Research Libraries), Bill Hubbard (SHERPA), Rick Johnson (SPARC), Michelle Kimpton (DSpace Foundation), Norbert Lossau (Goettingen State and University Library and DRIVER), Joyce Ogburn (University of Utah), Terry Owen (University of Maryland, College Park), Kathleen Shearer (Canadian Association of Research Libraries), Alma Swan (Key Perspectives Ltd.), Sean Thomas (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Susan Veldsman (eIFL), and Charles Watkinson (The American School of Classical Studies at Athens).

This meeting is a follow up to SPARC's popular 2004 institutional repositories conference, which drew hundreds of participants from around the globe and set the stage for some of the key developments in open access of the past four years.

To register for the SPARC Digital Repositories Meeting 2008, and for more details, including biographies for the keynote speakers, visit the conference Web site. Early Bird Registration ends September 15.


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC's advocacy, educational and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research.

Weekly Mathematica Seminars from Wolfram Education Group

Coming up: A Technical Overview of Mathematica, Monday, July 7, 10am EDT; Creating Demonstrations, Tuesday, July 8, 6pm EDT, and others.


Wikis in College Classrooms

Wiki Writing: Collaborative Learning in the College Classroom, a collection of essays edited (in The Wild, Wild Wiki) by Robert Cummings and Matt Barton, is described as, "An indispensable and engaging guide to using wikis in the classroom." A look at the table of contents includes titles that range from, "Wiki Justice, Social Ergonomics, and Ethical Collaborations" to "Wiki as Textshop: Constructing Knowledge in the Electronic Classroom." In "Wikis in the Classroom: A Taxonomy" author Mark Phillipson writes, "Wikis carry with them the DNA of the open source movement, for better and for worse: they are infinitely modifiable, adaptable for any number of locally conceptualized ends, resistant to fixity. Such open-ended fluidity can only be tamed in the classroom by pre-defined purpose."

When most people think of wikis, the first thing that comes to mind is Wikipedia though there are many other examples including NSDL's Wiki. Experimentation with this fairly transparent content creation and co-editing technology and how to best use it in classrooms has fueled debate among those who believe that wikis either help or hinder students' ability to interact with one another, express their opinions, and complete assignments online. The essays presented by Robert E. Cummings and Matt Barton in Wiki Writing: Collaborative Learning in the College Classroom are from various points of view that present a variety of use cases and opinions on what works in college classrooms.

Robert E. Cummings is Assistant Professor of English and Director of First-year Composition at Columbus State University. He also serves as the Writing Specialist for CSU's Quality Enhancement Plan, assisting teachers across campus in their efforts to maximize student writing in their curriculum.

Matt Barton is Assistant Professor at St. Cloud State University, Department of English. He is an Assistant Editor of Kairos and an Associate Editor of Kairosnews.

Stanford University School of Education Open Access Motion

In recognition of its responsibility to make its research and scholarship as widely and publicly available as possible, the faculty of the Stanford University School of Education is determined to take advantage of new technologies to increase access to its work among scholars worldwide, educators, policymakers, and the public. In support of greater openness in scholarly and educational endeavors, the faculty of the School of Education agree to the following policy:

Faculty members grant to the Stanford University permission to make publicly available their scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. They grant to Stanford University a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to their scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are properly attributed to the authors not sold for a profit.

The policy will apply to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while a faculty member of the School of Education, beginning with articles for which the publisher's copyright agreement has yet to be signed. The Dean or the Dean's designate will waive application of the policy upon written request from faculty who wish to publish an article with a publisher who will not agree to the terms of this policy (which will be presented to the publishers in the form of an addendum to the copyright agreement.

No later than the date of publication, faculty members will provide an electronic copy of the final version of the article at no charge to the appropriate representative of the Dean of Education's Office, who will make the article available to the public in an open-access repository operated by Stanford University.

The Office of the Dean will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending policy changes to the School of Education from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented on the policy to the School of Education.



The Gapminder web site features interactive analysis tools, videos, podcasts and interactive presentations that support their mission as a non-profit venture promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.

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