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

The Whiteboard Report
July 2002, Issue #20



BioSciEdNet? (BEN) Portal Site Launched
July 2002-- The BEN Collaborative, spearheaded by the AAAS, is composed of 11 professional societies and coalitions for biology education. In June 2002, the BEN portal became available to the general public. It provides access to a collection of 680 resources covering 46 biological sciences topics and 25 different resources types ranging from journal articles to simulations from the American Physiological Society, American Society for Microbiology, and Ecological Society of America. By October 2002, 300 additional resources will be available and additional partner sites connected to the portal including Access Excellence, National Association of Biology Teachers, Science's Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment, and the Society of Toxicology. A BEN demonstration will be conducted in a poster session at the Sixth Annual Meeting International Association of Medical Educators being held in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico July 20 - 23. Applied BEN biological sciences teaching and learning resources to undergraduate and graduate institutions, as well as professional schools will be demonstrated. Conference information is available at On August 4-9 The Ecological Society of America 87th Annual Meeting in Tucson, AZ 'Teaching Ecology using ESA's On-Line Education Materials: Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) and BioScience? Education Network (BEN)' workshop will be presented. This hands-on workshop will engage participants in the use of the current online collections of pedagogically innovative educational materials. TIEE is an ESA-sponsored, peer-reviewed, and classroom/field tested collection of teaching materials designed for ecology faculty. As a BEN partner collection, TIEE resources are searchable from the BEN portal and ESA's EcoEdNet?. Conference information is available at
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NSDL Community Members Contibute to "Interactivity" Issue of Journal of Digital Information
July 2002-- From the special issue editorial: 'Advances in Internet technologies have made it seemingly possible and easy to create digital collections, repositories and libraries. However, facilitating interaction beyond searching and browsing is in the early stages. Interactive digital libraries are still evolving.' Read the editiorial at The papers in this issue show how current projects and initiatives are handling some of the challenges including the following papers from NSDL Program participants:
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Digital Archive Network for Anthropology
J. Clark, B. Slator, W. Perrizo, J. Landrum, R. Frovarp, A. Bergstrom, S. Ramaswamy, W. Jockheck
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Thematic Real-time Environmental Distributed Data Services (THREDDS): Incorporating Interactive
B. Domenico, J. Caron, E. Davis, R. Kambic, S. Nativi
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Virtual Telescopes in Education
July 2002-- S. Hoban, M. desJardins, N. Farrell, P. Rathod, J. Sachs, S. Sansare, Y. Yesha, J. Keating, B. Busschots, J. Means, G. Clark, L. Mayo, W. Smith
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Atmospheric Visualization Collection: Developments in the NSDL
July 2002-- C. Klaus, K. Andrew, G. Mace
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Federated Searching Interface Techniques for Heterogeneous OAI Repositories
July 2002-- X. Liu, K. Maly, M. Zubair, Q. Hong, M. Nelson, F. Knudson, I. Holtkamp
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Active Netlib: An Active Mathematical Software Collection for Inquiry-based Computational Science an
July 2002-- S. Moore, A. Baker, J. Dongarra, C. Halloy, C. Ng
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Linked Active Content for Digital Libraries for Education
July 2002-- D. Yaron, D. Milton, R. Freeland
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Open Archives Initiative Release Version 2.0 of the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
July 2002-- June 14, 2002, Ithaca, NY & Los Alamos, NM--The Open Archives Initiative is pleased to release version 2.0 of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The release of OAI-PMH v.2.0 comes after 16 months of worldwide experimentation with version 1.x of the protocol, an 8 month revision process by the OAI-tech group, and 4 months of alpha/beta testing. Thanks to this rigid testing and revision, we feel confident to release the OAI-PMH version 2.0 as a stable specification. Read the protocol document at
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Lawrence Lessig at American Library Association (ALA)
July 2002-- Stanford University legal scholar, and award-winning author Lawrence Lessig is a busy man. In addition to his teaching and research at Stanford and his participation in the nascent Creative Commons project, Lessig is busily preparing to argue in Eldred v. Ashcroft case that Congress overstepped its bounds when it tacked an additional 20 years onto copyright protections in 1998. Nevertheless, Lessig made time for librarians at this year's American Library Association annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. Lessig took part in three hour- plus session titled 'Pirates on the Commons: Legal and Political Assaults on Information Access by the Expanding Domain of Copyright.' Lessig was joined on the panel by ALA copyright specialist Carrie Russell, and ARL Scholarly Communication Director Mary Case. According to Lessig, librarians have much to be concerned about. 'We have never in our history lived in a time when a smaller group of people have had a greater amount of control over how our culture develops,' Lessig told LJ. 'Even in England when perpetual copyright existed it wasn't this concentrated. People need to recognize how changed this has become in a relatively short time, 50 years.' Lessig maintains in the copyright debate librarians must speak out about diminishing fair use rights and the importance of the public domain, to counter the entertainment industry's attempts at framing the debate around digital piracy. 'There needs to be a much better debate about what's really at stake, because the thing that's at stake here is the concentration and control over the future of our culture,' said Lessig. Look for the full interview with Lessig in the July edition of [LIBRARY JOURNAL.] -- LJ Academic Newswire, June 13, 2002.
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ScienceDirect?'s New Pay-Per-View Option
July 2002-- ScienceDirect? has announced the launch of a new pay-per-view option for guests that will allow users without ScienceDirect? accounts to access the full-text of articles contained in the database. Guests users of ScienceDirect? (i.e. users not associated with an institution that subscribes to ScienceDirect?) will be able to browse all of the ScienceDirect? journals, read abstracts, and then choose to purchase selected full-text articles by credit card and download them in HTML and PDF format. Additionally, guest users of ScienceDirect? can set up free table of contents email alerts and create personal journals. 'By offering pay per view for guests, availability of our content gets a new dimension and we trust that we now make accessibility of our content even more flexible,' said Frank Vrancken Peeters, managing director of ScienceDirect?. Details about ScienceDirect? licensing options and content appear at ScienceDirect? now offers access to more than 2 million full-text articles, from over 1500 journals published by Elsevier Science, and access to journals from around 120 publishers through CrossRef?. -- LJ Academic Newswire, June 13, 2002.
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GAO Report on Electronic Records
July 2002-- The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has issued a report on the challenges faced by the National Archives (NARA) in preserving electronic records. 'Information Management Challenges in Managing and Preserving Electronic Records' (GAO-02-586, June 2002) finds that across the board, federal agency compliance with existing electronic records laws and regulations is problematic. There is a systemic failure to inventory systems and schedule records resulting in an increased risk of premature deletion. In addition, 'most electronic records (including databases of major federal information systems) remain unscheduled, and records of historical value are not being identified and provided to NARA for preservation in archives. As a result, valuable electronic records may be at risk of loss.' The report also states that NARA guidance to agencies 'does not address many common products of electronic information processing, particularly those that result from the now prevalent distributed, end-user computing environment.' For the report: For a summary of the study, tap into the William Matthews article in Federal Computer Week (June 19, 2002) at: Schalliol, Washington State Historical Society.
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Johns Hopkins' Amazing Library Bots
July 2002-- 'Researchers have designed a robot that can move about inside a library and locate a book requested by a user, take it off the shelf and carry it to a nearby scanning station. In the system's envisaged final version, a second robot at the scanning station would scan specific pages of the book that the user was interested in. The user would then be able to leaf through the book over the Internet from any location.' -- by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, New York Times, June 27, 2002.
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Dot.Com History Lesson
July 2002-- 'If the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and succeed in their endeavor, business researchers will have soon a place to go. U. of Maryland officials this week announced the launch of the Business Plan Archive (BPA), a web-based initiative designed to create a permanent record of the sometimes-ephemeral dot-com era.' -- LJ Academic Newswire, June 27, 2002.
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July 2002-- 'Several colleges are now looking to share more of that work by building 'institutional repositories' online and inviting their professors to upload copies of their research papers, data sets, and other work. The idea is to gather as much of the intellectual output of an institution as possible in an easy-to-search online collection. One college has called its proposed repository a 'super digital archive.'' -- By Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 5, 2002.
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Current Cites
July 2002-- 'Several colleges are now looking to share more of that work by building 'institutional repositories' online and inviting their professors to upload copies of their research papers, data sets, and other work. The idea is to gather as much of the intellectual output of an institution as possible in an easy-to-search online collection. One college has called its proposed repository a 'super digital archive.'' -- By Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 5, 2002.
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Library Journal Academic Newswire
July 2002-- Subscribe to the LJ Academic Newswire.
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July 2002 Inspiration 1
July 2002-- Collection and service builders sometimes face the daunting task of building a community of practice at the same time as they build their collections and tools. Here is some pratical advice from a leading expert in community building. Richard McDermott? underscores three dimensions that are important for you to understand: what kind of knowledge people need to share, how tightly bonded the community is, and how closely new knowledge needs to be linked with people's everyday work.
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July 2002 Inspiration 2
July 2002-- The Cornell Digital Library Research Group believes in connectivity which is why they maintain a stretch of the Fingerlakes Trail. The main Finger Lakes Trail is 552 miles long and connects the Catskill Mountains with the Allegheny Mountains by passing through remote areas of the Southern Tier of New York State. Many sections are official segments of the North Country National Scenic Trail. This 3,200-mile-long foot trail is planned to extend across seven states between Lake Champlain in New York and Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota.
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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