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

September 2009 Issue #149






From Whiteboard to 'Dashboard'

Are you beginning to feel that change in the quality of light and air that September usually brings? Days are a little less long, hints of autumn haze are evident, and a few leaves are just starting to change color.

A change of seasons is also underway for NSDL communications: this current issue of NSDL Whiteboard Report, will be the final issue. Managed, edited and disseminated by Carol Minton Morris, NSDL Whiteboard Report archives will continue to be available via Big changes are also in store for Carol, who has served NSDL so very well, in multiple capacities over the past eight years. Currently jointly serving both NSDL and Duraspace, Carol will take on full-time responsibilities as the Director of Marketing and Communications for DuraSpace on Jan. 1. We wish her the best in this new era of her professional life and know that she will continue to be an advocate for NSDL.

Taking NSDL communications to new levels is the purpose of the new NSDL Community Network site, administered by the NSDL Resource Center. Currently in testing phase and due for public release within coming weeks, the site is home to:

The Community Network site is built on UCAR's Drupal content management system, offering a cost-effective and flexible platform for these many NSDL community networking, sharing, and trends reporting activities-all in support of serving the information needs of NSDL-funded projects, with ways to contribute and comment on what you see (and what you would like to see). We have more ideas in mind, as the site matures with community input and use-let's hear yours as well. An announcement of the site URL and public release will go out soon via email lists and, with registration instructions for the site and the Annual Meeting closely following. Check it out when available, contribute your news announcements via the Community News feature, and join in the feedback loop!

For more information, contact Eileen McIlvain.

New Look for K12 Audience Pages at

The K-12 audience pages have a new look to them. Try out the audience tabs to find more specific information at the grade level you teach, watch for resource highlights with a new topic each month (this month it's on careers and the scientific process), and learn simple ways to incorporate more digital materials in your teaching. Be sure to give us your feedback so we can continue to make these pages more useful to you.

Introducing the NSDL CLEAN Pathway

Congratulations to the Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), a new Pathways project of NSDL. The CLEAN Pathway team is led by Tamara Ledley, of TERC, with collaboration by Frank Niepold (NOAA); Mark McCaffrey and Susan Buhr (CIRES/Univ of CO); Cynthia Howell (NREL) and Cathy Manduca (SERC). We look forward to learning more about CLEAN in the coming weeks - their start date is January 1, 2010, but some of the team will be at the Pathway meeting at the Annual Meeting, and participate in calls as they can (they have been added to the Pathways email list).

MatDL Pathway Update

MatDL Pathway presented a poster on the NSDL MatDL services for collaborative materials code development and undergraduate MS education at the August 2009 Gordon Conference on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering in Andover, NH. The Conference presents recent progress in the use of computational materials models to unify the science and engineering of metallic materials.

NSDL Webmetrics

NSDL has maintained a contract with Omniture, whose core mission has been to help their customers measure and optimize every digital interaction to increase revenues and competitive advantage, since 2006. Omniture does this by providing both project-specific as well as 'roll-up' reporting, for the NSDL projects that have it implemented. This has been a valuable package, providing in-depth reporting capabilities. With the advent of many open-source metrics packages (like Google Analytics) over the last few years, many projects have begun to use those other options, in addition to various in-house systems and/or server logs.

The NSDL Resource Center has renewed the Omniture contract until March 2010. The Omniture contract enables subscribed projects to create specific reports that download their archived data to a project's own server. So, this will enable Omniture users to to transition to other metrics gathering methods, establish/complement existing baseline data, and archive past histories. It will also be a good opportunity to utilize this transition process itself as a source of additional data/lessons learned about use of multiple packages and comparison of data -- and this will complement forthcoming recommendations from the NSDL Metrics Working Group, and help to explore options, plan and get methods in place supporting effective, collective metrics reporting across NSDL projects.

Omniture has reported that they have signed an agreement to be acquired by Adobe System, one of the largest software companies in the world.

Back to School with Shodor

Students across the NC Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) and all over the US are beginning a new school year. And at Shodor students are eager to show off what they learned over the summer.

Triangle teens who participated in Shodor's Scholars Program and Apprenticeship Program prepared presentations to showcase the 21st Century Workforce Skills they learned in the program on Aug. 14, 2009. After learning many 21st Century Workforce skills through the Appprenticeship Program, these students put what they learned into practice with projects that involved tasks such as building interactive online models like the ones on Shodor's website.

Some of their projects included work on the actual online models that are used nationwide both in and out of the classroom to help students better understand mathematics and science lessons. These valuable interactive learning tools for educators help them to more effectively utilize the computers and interactive white boards (such as a "SMART Board") in their classrooms.

Apprentice Summer Projects are detailed below, and include the adaptation of one of Shodor's online educational models into an iPhone application, as well as the creation of an inexpensive interactive whiteboard.

For more information on Shodor's workshops for students, visit


2009 Annual Meeting Update

The Annual Meeting Committee has reviewed the submissions (40 presentations and 12 lightning talks) and is the process of putting together the meeting schedule. We have a nice range of topics with subjects like "Use and Non-use of Digital Learning Materials", "Best Practices on Collecting and Analyzing Metrics Data" and "Creating Science and Math Teacher-Leaders who REALLY use Digital Resources".

Registration and poster submissions will be available at the NSDL Community Network site by the NSDL Resource Center (see related article). You will also be able to find out more information about local hotels and the meeting schedule.

Dr. Linda Slakey, NSF Division of Undergraduate Education Division Director, will open the meeting again this year, along with updates from the NSDL Resource Center and Technical Network Services group. Wednesday morning will kick off with a panel on cyberlearning, where Arlene de Strulle, Program Director in the Division of Research on Learning (DRL), will open with a brief overview of NSF's work in this area with responses and discussion from NSDL community members and other interested NSDL stakeholders. Make plans now to renew your contacts with the community, and exchange the ideas and excitement that make this community so successful!

Climate Literacy Workshop - Washington DC - Sep. 29-30 - Oct . 1

Hosted by the National Science Digital Library in partnership with the National Science Foundation, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and their Joint Office for Science Support, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

This community needs assessment workshop will gauge the current state of digital learning tools and resources for climate education, and the opportunities to collaborate in emerging areas of need. The event will convene thoughtleader-practitioners from P-20 and informal education, climate science, science communication, and digital resource developer communities--as well as policymakers and other stakeholders. With an emphasis on pragmatic outcomes, cross-sector working groups will outline the most pressing needs for different populations of climate education producers, consumers, and researchers; and discuss the unique opportunities for cyberlearning tools to catalyze public understanding of climate change. Participants will also evaluate several existing tools for their potential applicability to new climate education challenges, including the NSDL Science Literacy Maps. This service of the National Science Digital Library, based on the AAAS Project 2061 Atlas of Science Literacy, offers a model for connecting the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy to useful teaching and learning resources in a context that facilitates age-appropriate knowledge construction across conceptual strands.

Upcoming Conferences that Make a World of Difference

National Middle School Association 36th Annual Conference & Exhibit will take place November 5-7, 2009
in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the largest and most comprehensive middle level professional development opportunity in the world!

American Association of School Librarians (AASL) 2009 National Conference, "Rev Up Learning @ your library" will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 5-8. This is a conference to help all school library media specialists with the implementation of the new learning standards, to raise the level of learning in our school library media programs, and to address the needs of a new generation of students.

Researchers, librarians, teaching faculty, students, and policymakers from around the world who are interested in the use of social sciences data are invited to participate in ICPSR 2009: Real Data in a Virtual World October 5 through October 9. This FREE conference is hosted by Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), a partner of the Quantitative Social Science Digital Library (QSSDL) Pathway.


Instructions for Registering for the NSDL Community Network Site and the Annual Meeting

Registration for the Annual Meeting is different from year's past. You will first need to create a login on the new Community Network Site.

Creating a login with the NSDL Community Network Site allows you to:

General information about the Community Network Site and the Annual Meeting do not require login.

To register, go to:

  1. Click on "Login/Register" below the main menu, upper right (in the blue bar)
  2. Click on "Create a New Account"
  3. Enter your email address for your username (Email addresses are solely for login and will not be shared).
  4. Continue to fill out the form and answer the questions related to the Annual Meeting. If you are requesting travel support, be sure to mark that on your form.
    NOTE: If you are not attending the meeting, but would like to register for the Community Site, answer "No" to the first question and go to Step 5.
  5. Fill out your personal and professional information
  6. Click on "Create New Account"
  7. You will receive an email confirming your registration and approval for access onto the Community Site.

NOTE: Registration for the Community Network Site and for the Annual Meeting must be approved by administrators before access is granted. Community Site accounts created during business hours (8:00 am - 5:00 pm Mountain Time) can expect timely approval. Accounts created during non-business hours (evenings and weekends) can expect approval within 1-2 business days after. Once approved, you will receive an email confirming your registration, allowing you to login as a member.

A full schedule will be posted on the Annual Meeting site soon. You can also find travel information.

So here are the main things to remember:


Quantum to Cosmos Festival

Physics is big in the small community of Waterloo Ontario. For the last decade the Perimeter Institute has aimed to establish a world-class organization devoted to theoretical physics with programs, research and innovative outreach to students, teachers and scholars. To celebrate their tenth anniversary the Perimeter Institute invites you to immerse yourself in quantum computing, robotics, the nature of time, space exploration and the potential of green technology in person or online at the Quantum to Cosmos Festival, coming October 15-25.

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