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

The Whiteboard Report
May 2002, Issue #18



Introducing The Tech Explainer Edition of Whiteboard Report
May 2002-- [The Tech Explainer Edition of Whiteboard Report] is a new online monthly update aimed at briefly explaining key aspects of the emerging National Science Digital Library technical system for NSDL enthusiasts in non-technical language. The Tech Explainer is published as a service to the NSDL community by NSDL Core Integration in addtion to the regular monthly edition of the [Whiteboard Report]. Features will include a regular 'Nuts and Bolts' update highlighting a key aspect of NSDL Technology that will have an impact on how contributors participate in the NSDL. ? To receive The Tech Explainer Edition of Whiteboard Report each month PLEASE SUBSCRIBE HERE: You will not receive The Tech Explainer via email until/unless you subscribe to the list above.? The Tech Explainer may be viewed online at ? You may subscribe other mail lists to this list.? The Tech Explainer Edition of Whiteboard Report can be found under the 'NSDL Information' menu on the NSDL Communication Portal [main page]. Suggestions for improvement are welcome. Please subscribe and post comments here. CP HOT TIP OF THE MONTH: If you have created a mail list in the Communication Portal you are the administrator of that list, have been sent a list password, and have set up user permissions. If you want 'anyone' to be able to submitt to your mail list, check to make sure that you have NOT limited submissions to 'subscribers only.' You can do this by logging in to the CP, navigating to the Workspace where the list is located, clicking on 'lists' on the left menu, and then clicking on 'list admin.' where you will be prompted to enter your list administrator password. Note that if you are using a Wiki you are not automatically logged in to the Communication Portal.

Mathematics Taxonomy Finalized
May 2002-- A Core Subject Taxonomy for Mathematical Sciences Education was recently finalized by the Mathematical Sciences Conference Group on Digital Educational Resources, which includes representatives from various groups with some interest in digital libraries in mathematics. This goal of this effort, which has taken several years to complete, was to create a subject taxonomy for the mathematical sciences to which each participating digital library/collection is able to map their internal subject taxonomy. The full report on the process, guidelines and thoughts that went into arriving at the taxonomy can be found at

User Scenarios: Outcomes from Using Data in the Classroom Workshop
May 2002-- April 21-23 educators and technology specialists gathered at Carleton College in Northfield, MN to engage in an energetic interdisciplinary discussion around advancing the effective use of data in the classroom to support inquiry and discovery-based learning, and to inform the design of on-line data delivery tools. Over the next weeks, expect to find posters, user scenarios, and other information generated by participants on the [UDC website]. Dave Mogk and Cathy Manduca will be working on an outline of a report from the Workshop which will be available via the [website] and [mailto: discussion list].

Workshop Held on GROW Digital Library
May 2002-- In January of 2002 the Third Richard A. Harvill Conference on Higher Education was held at the University of Arizona, in Tucson Arizona. The theme of the conference was 'Developing a Sense of Place for Distance Education.' The last two days of the conference consisted of breakout workshops, and one of the workshops was dedicated to the GROW digital library. The Geotechnical, Rock & Water (GRoW?) Digital Library is a ?collection? being created by the University of Arizona?s Department of Civil Engineering, Center for Computing and Information Technology, University Library, and the Assessment and Enrollment Research office. Work on the digital library started in the Fall of 2001. Workshop participants included university faculty and staff, K-12 teachers, professionals, librarians, and reporters. About 20 people participated in the two-day workshop. The agenda for the workshop consisted of an introductory session, followed by specific brainstorming sessions addressing content, vocabulary and metadata, and sustainability. Since the GROW digital library had only been in development for about 4 months at the time of the workshop, the workshop was important for gathering public opinion on our initial ideas for the digital library, and a source of many new and novel ideas. A survey given at the end of the workshop indicated unanimous support for the development of GROW, and all participants indicated a willingness to continue being part of the assessment team for the GROW digital library. For more information contact John Kemeny at

Policy Committee Asks for Your Help
May 2002-- In recent months, the Policy Committee (PC) has developed a plan for the creation of Standing Committees to provide a voice for all NSDL participants. The PC is enlisting your help so these standing committees will be fully functional as soon as possible. The current plan, 'Policy Committee Draft Plan of April 2002 for Standing Committees', can be found [here]. This document outlines the plans for five Standing Committees: ?Community Services ?Content ?Educational Impact ?Sustainability ?Technology. For more information on each of these committees, please review the above document. The Standing Committees document calls for the election of a Committee Chair and Secretary to help provide leadership in helping the PC shape the future of the NSDL. PC members and CI people are not eligible as officers. (The two people who receive the largest number of votes for Committee Chair will become Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee.) Please consider participating in these committees and submitting nominations for these positions to the PC liaisons listed in the Draft Plan above. For more information, please contact any of the PC members listed at

New Zealand to Samoa: From Real-time, Shipboard Data Acquisition to Digital Library Objects--Tune in to the Live Webcast May 8, 2002, 3 P.M. PDT
May 2002-- John Helly, San Diego Supercomputer Center, will present some of the results from the first 'Floating Digital Library Workshop', an oceanographic expedition that took place from March 5-March 19 in the South Pacific, and online at This effort will be described in the context of the larger NSF-sponsored NSDL project that is developing modern methods for the publication of arbitrary digital objects, comprised of scientific data, as library-grade objects. The talk will be accompanied by images of the equipment and conditions found on the R/V Melville during the expedition. On the bottom of this page, you will find a link to the live webcast.

ILumina Project Highlights Intellectual Property Issues in D-Lib Magazine
May 2002-- Read about about the iLumina project and intellectual property rights issues with respect to importing metadata in 'Challenges for Service Providers When Importing Metadata in Digital Libraries' in the April issue of D-Lib Magazine at This article highlights obstacles encountered by iLumina which are indicative of problems faced by others in the digital library community, and identifies questions to be addressed in developing interoperability.

6th European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL)
May 2002-- The deadline for submissions for demonstrations and posters for ECDL has been extended deadline to May 4. In the spirit of encouraging NSDL collaboration with activities in Europe and beyond your participation is welcome. The conference will be held at Pontifical Gregorain University in Rome, Italy September 16-18. For more information visit the conference web site at

DLESE Community Review System Tested
May 2002-- The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) includes a Broad Collection of educational resources relevant to Earth System Education, and a smaller Reviewed Collection of resources which have been reviewed for scientific accuracy, pedagogical effectiveness, robustness as a digital resource, completeness of documentation, ease of use for teachers and learners, ability to motivate or inspire learners, and importance/significance of the content. As one of several possible pathways into the DLESE Reviewed Collection, we are developing the 'DLESE Community Review System.' The Community Review System combines feedback from educators in the DLESE community who have used the educational resource in their classroom or other learning context, together with specialist reviews mediated by an [Editorial Review Board]. The community feedback is gathered via a web-mediated recommendation engine, and stored in a PostgreSQL? release 7.2 relational database. It is accessed via php to create several types of automatic reports, including an email to the resource creator summarizing each new review as it is received, summary tables aimed at spotting resources that have been cataloged incorrectly, and bar graph summaries of the responses to the quantitative scoring rubrics.

Draft K-12 Science Standard Hierarchies Available for Review
May 2002-- The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) has created a series of K-12 science education subject hierarchies as part of the National Digital Library for Undergraduate Mathematics, Science, and Technology Teacher Preparation and Professional Development grant work. The hierarchies are based on the National Science Education Standards (NSES), Benchmarks for Science Literary, and the existing ENC science hierarchy There are seven draft hierarchies that correspond to the NSES Science Content Standards: ?Science as Inquiry ?Physical Science ?Life Science ?Earth and Space Science ?Science and Technology ?Science in Personal and Social Perspectives ?History and Nature of Science. The hierarchies, background information, and directions for providing feedback can be found at

Usage and Usability Assessment: Library Practices and Concerns
May 2002-- The most recent offering from the Digital Library Federation (DLF), this report (99 pages),, covers the best management and design strategies for digital library services. Authored by Denise Troll Covey, Associate Librarian, Carnegie Mellon University, the report 'offers a survey of the methods that are being deployed at leading digital libraries to assess the use and usability of their online collections and services.' Through interviews, Ms. Covey gathered the collective knowledge and experiences across several DLF member institutions. She relates these collective experiences and provides readers with a solid understanding of the practical application of information gathering strategies (surveys, focus groups, user protocols, transaction log analysis, etc.). Each methodology is fully explained and the difficulties and drawbacks described. In addition to a useful bibliography, Covey also includes a review of traditional library input/output measures for comparison. This report is a must read for anyone involved in the development of digital services and collections. While you're at the DLF site, take a moment to review other DLF reports. All are useful and worth the time. -- the [Scout Report].

Copyrighting Metadata?
May 2002-- Will descriptive metadata about copyrighted digital objects be placed under the same kinds of restrictions as the content itself? That may be the case for some commercial applications according to the document: The International Standards Organization ISO - PDTR 21499, 'Content Delivery and Rights Management - Functional Requirements for Identifiers and Descriptors for Use in the Music, Film, Video, Sound Recording, and Publishing Industries.' This summary is provided by [NISO]: 'This technical report was authored by Tom Delsey (formerly of the National Library of Canada and the author of the IFLA FRBR document). Summary of purpose from the PDTR 21449 'Introductory Note': PDTR 21449 is an analysis of the requirements for identifiers and descriptors in three broadly defined business functions that are central to the content industries: production, distribution, and the management and protection of intellectual property rights. The purpose of PDTR 21449 is to establish a shared frame of reference for describing the nature of the business and information transactions that take place in the course of production, distribution, and rights management. It focuses specially on the requirements of the originators, producers, distributors, and registration authorities, and rights administrators involved in the development and delivery of intellectual and artistic content. PDTR describes: ?a conceptual business architecture, ?an information architecture, ?the attributes and relationships to support the information architecture, and ?a generic set of user transactions that are mapped to the defined attributes and relationships.' Additional background information about PDTR 21449 is available on the ISO/TC46/SC9 website at: For an informative overview of this and other digital rights management initiatives, see the Forum for Metadata Schema Implementers, Watch Report #1.



Overcoming Link Rot in Online Education Delivery
May 2002-- 'It's downright annoying to come across a broken link on the Web. And for a professor teaching a distance education course ?- or referring 'traditional' students to an Internet resource ?- it can be a major problem. '-- Katie Dean, Kendra Mayfield, Wired News, April 24, 2002.

Website Usability for Children
May 2002-- 'Our usability study of kids found that they are as easily stumped by confusing websites as adults. Unlike adults, however, kids tend to view ads as content, and click accordingly. They also like colorful designs, but demand simple text and navigation.'-- from Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, April 14, 2002.

Ask Jeeves Even More
May 2002-- 'Teoma provides better results because it goes beyond traditional page ranking methods to determine authority, in addition to relevancy. To determine the authority or quality of a site's content, Teoma uses Subject-Specific PopularitySM?. Subject-Specific Popularity ranks a site based on the number of same-subject pages that reference it, not just general popularity, to determine a site's level of authority...'

'Metadata Principles and Practicalities'
May 2002-- From D-Lib Magazine, written by Erik Duval, Wayne Hodges, Stuart Sutton, and Stuart Weibel. The paper emerged as part of a plan to bring the metadata efforts of DCMI and the IEEE LOM closer together and reflects what some of the leaders of both groups feel to be common princples shared by their communities. The authors believe that these princples are likely to be common to other metadata communities as well, and that this paper will advance the common understandings necessary to improve adoption of useful metadata in many areas.

Internet Librarian International 2002
May 2002-- This page features links to World Wide Web sites, PowerPoint? slideshows, and other electronic resources used in support of presentations at Internet Librarian International 2002.

May 2002-- Cruise the portal that inspired the NSDL Exhibit Service. Preliminary plans for the service, include a uPortal interface component to display exhibit channels, a back-end database to store content and metadata for exhibits, and an exhibit builder application to populate the database.
May 2002-- The Advanced Photon Source (APS), a third-generation synchrotron light source, offers high-brilliance x-rays as tools for research by investigators from a variety of scientific disciplines.

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