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

The Whiteboard Report
September 2002, Issue #22



The NSDL Search Service
September 2002-- A third grade teacher who holds an MAT in Education is looking for materials to include in lesson plans. He/she has experience using Internet search engines. Will the NSDL Search Service deliver? Whether users are experts or novices, the NSDL Search Service enables a third grade teacher to make a quick stop for targeted materials, or for others to take thought-provoking strolls through rich science resources. Discovery in the NSDL is focused on leveraging the user's knowledge against the added capabilites of a large, growing, dynamic, and distributed aggregation of learning resources. Users will ask for and get specific types and formats of items and collections. Three levels of searching are available: a simple search box that will always appear in the main portal, a basic search with filters, and an advanced search with boolean capabilities. The solid underlying technology that supports the NSDL Search Service is designed to scale up to accomodate a very large volume of data, eventually matching many thousands of users with millions of catalog records. Additional search services will be part of NSDL in the future. While the first version of NSDL Search is a general discovery tool, other search service providers may use access to the metadata repository to focus on discovery of specific information from the NSDL catalog, amplifying the Library's ability to meet user needs in ways that have not yet been imagined. Testing of the NSDL Search Service will begin next month.

Please Comment on Emerging Metadata Policy for the NSDL
September 2002-- Len Simutis, Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, and Stuart A. Sutton, University of Washington, and the NSDL Policy Committee, and William Arms and Diane Hillmann, Cornell, and the Core Integration team, have worked with the NSDL Policy Committee to create a draft of a "Metadata Policy for the NSDL." Public comment and discussion is encouraged on "PC-3" until September 24. Based on comments received by then, the NSDL Policy Committee will review the [NSDL Metadata Policy (PC-3)] for possible action at its meeting on Sept. 29 at the site of the MERLOT Conference in Atlanta. Metadata plays a key role in the collection development activities of the NSDL. It is of particular importance to have a policy that clarifies NSDL assumptions and plans regarding metadata. The NSDL community is encouraged to read and comment on this critical document which can be found at
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The [Learning Matrix] Digital Library Presents the [Education Headline News Service]
September 2002-- This service provides direct links to articles about higher education, mathematics, science, or technology from news sources around the nation. Laura Brendon, ENC reference librarian, gathers articles and news of interest during the week and launches the news each Friday. The news can be viewed on the Learning Matrix web site or delivered via email directly to your inbox. The email service requires registration with the Learning Matrix. Please email [Laura Brendon] with news sources or ideas on how to improve this service. The [Education Headline News] for K-12 is available through the ENC website.
Related Link: [Education Headline News]

CI Executives Participate in Library Cognitive Walk-throughs
September 2002-- On August 20 members of the CI Executive Group took part in cognitive walk-throughs of the Search and Browse components of the new Library in the Cornell Information Science Usability Lab. In preparation for these excercises the Cornell CI Portals/UI team met with Tammy Sumner, NSDL Educatonal Impact and Evaluation Standing Comm. chair, earlier in the summer to plan for evaluation of the NSDL system. She suggested that cognitive walk-throughs and heuristic evaluations be conducted to inform development. The Cornell CI Portals/UI team has developed and conducted cognitive walk-throughs of Library components internally and with partners as part of an ongoing iterative design process. Documentation can be found at and in "Primary Documents" at Geri Gay, Director, Cornell HCI Group, Vivian Evangelista, PhD? student in education, Cornell, and John Efroymson, third grade teacher, NYS Spencer-Van Etten School District, assisted in developing user profiles, scenarios, tasks, and reporting forms for this exercise. Similar cognitive walk-throughs will be conducted with potential users including librarians and teachers this fall. Results will be available online.
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Diversity & Accessibility Workspace
September 2002-- A new workspace is now available on the NSDL Communications Portal devoted to addressing issues of Diversity and Accessibility in digital library development and use This workspace is a collaborative effort headed by Sarita Nair, Director of the [Gender & Science Digital Library Project] at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), Rachel Bower, Director of the [Internet Scout Project] from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Edward Almasy, Technical Director of the Internet Scout Project. This Diversity & Accessibility workspace is aimed at disseminating information and encouraging dialogue amongst NSDL projects to ensure full access of the NSDL to all users - regardless of disability, economic situation, race, ethnicity or geographic location. It will support the development of resources and discussions on a wide range of issues to help the NSDL community meet the needs of users with disabilities, reduce and eliminate gender/diversity barriers in STEM education, and encourage full use of the NSDL by all. Involvement from all is necessary to make this forum an effective and useful place. Readers are also encouraged to submit to the Projects, Resources, and Events sections.
Related Link: [Internet Scout Project]

NSDL Publishers Workshop on Oct. 8
September 2002-- Over the next year or two it will be critical for NSDL to begin to integrate proprietary content into its distributed collections, and also to consider possible relationships between NSDL and for-profit libraries. Several NSDL projects have begun to forge tentative connections with publishers. However, one practical near-term step for NSDL as a whole is to convene a workshop on these issues, collecting together current insights, and bringing to the table a number of the publishers with whom individual projects are now working. The Workshop agenda is being developed. Please visit to read the Publishers Workshop planning documents by Dave McArthur?, Collegis, or email [Dave] for more information.
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Special Session on Digital Libraries at GSA 2002
September 2002-- A special session on digital libraries is scheduled for the [2002 Annual Meeting of the American Geological Society] (AGS) in Denver. Session #199: [Digital Libraries as Vehicles for Systemic Educational Change] will be co-chaired by Mary Marlino (DLESE Program Center); Cathy Manduca (Carleton College), and Ed Geary (Colorado State University), and is sponsored by the [National Association of Geoscience Teachers] (NAGT). The session will be held on October 30 (8:15 AM ? 12:00 PM) with a variety of presentations designed to inform educators of innovative resources and issues that enhance pedagogical effectiveness and encourage educational reform. Discussions of tools and resources that contribute to effective teaching and learning include: services linking digital libraries with resources that can help educators teach more effectively (Cathy Manduca, Carleton College); identification of excellent digital resources through community review systems (Kim Kastens, Columbia University); inquiry and visualization-based curricula (Rajul Pandya, DLESE Program Center); the DLESE Evaluation Toolkit project (Susan Buhr, University of Colorado); the use of Dynamic Digital Maps (DDMs) to engage students in petrology by bringing the field into the classroom (Christopher Condit, University of Massachusetts); and the provision of geospatial search services by the Alexandria Digital Library (David Valentine, UCSB). Other presentations include the application of Earth system vocabularies for resource characterization that illuminate the interrelatedness and contextualized nature of thematic collections (Dave Mogk, Montana State University); the development of collection-level metadata for cross-data center searching (Greg Janee, UCSB); special collections formation such as the Digital Water Education Library (DWEL) (Bryan Aivazian; Natrona School District) and the Marine Realms Information Bank (Fausto Marincioni of USGS), as well as digitization of existing geological collections (Ian Hodgden, Perkins Geological Museum).
Related Link: [National Association of Geoscience Teachers]

NSDL User Testing at MERLOT Conference
September 2002-- Going to the MERLOT conference in Atlanta? The Core Integration team is looking for a few good volunteers who would be willing to participate in user testing of the main library portal. AND, we will provide you lunch for helping out! If you would like to help, and can spare 40 minutes during the lunch break on Saturday (September 28), please contact Casey Jones at []. Please indicate whether 12:30 or 1:15 would work better and we'll get back to you with the details.
Related Link: [].

Gender & Science Digital Library Poster Session at MERLOT
September 2002-- The Gender & Science Digital Library will be presenting a poster session at the Merlot International Conference in Atlanta, GA, September 27-30, 2002 The conference will be a venue for learning about shared content, peer reviews of learning materials, using standards to develop and select materials and develop online communities like MERLOT. The GSDL will be highlighting its unique challenges developing a collection of gender healthy STEM materials for both K-12 and Higher Ed. audiences.
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Fall DLF Forum
September 2002-- Information about the [Digital Library Federation (DLF) Fall Forum], Nov. 4-6, will be available soon at the DLF web site: The meeting will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Seattle Washington. Topics will include: Integration of digital libraries in learning management systems, Progress in implementations of the OAI protocol, Portal developments and Metadata developments.
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Online Education on the Rise
September 2002-- Students use the Web to complete their degrees, even as they move to other locations. By taking advantage of online educational opportunities, those who wish to pursue advanced degrees are no longer constrained geographically. Options for remote learning via the Web are so popular that even with the economy in a downturn and many degree-granting Internet sites closing, online education is still growing.--Flash Points, Col. 7, No. 5, Aug. 2, 2002. Source: Boston Globe, 6/15/02

OAI at Work
September 2002-- In conjuction with the International Conference on Parallel Processing last month, a workshop on Distributed Computing Architectures for Digital Libraries was held in Vancouver, BC. where some interesting papers were presented on OAI applications for digital libraries. Kurt Maly, Old Dominion University, gave a talk on ["The Kepler Framework "] A Digital Library for Individuals." Personal Kepler is finding that a central repository of repository IDs is necessary to run a decentralized network of OAI personal repostiories or "archivelets." The Kepler archivelet is available for Windows, Linux, and Unix Operating Systems. Download at Testing is encouraged. Any feedback that you could provide would be appreciated. Patty Kostkova, who works for the The City University, Institute for Health Services in London is developing a highly vetted and rated repository of medical data in collaboration with medical professionals in the field. She is also developing ontologies to relate the data. Intelligent agents are used in the system to discover data and user preferences. Wolf Siberski presented a paper on a point to point network of OAI repositories containing course descriptions. The overall system is called [Edutella]. The content is course material for e-learning systems based on JXTA ("juxta"). RDF helps peers to discover their peers. ECDM java object model is used for data logging.
Related Link: [Edutella].

Institute of Physics Implements OIA-PMH
September 2002-- Institute of Physics Publishing has recently implemented the Open Archives Initiative technical framework for the Electronic Journals service. IOP is pleased to confirm the adoption of this standard at Institute of Physics Publishing. Metadata records for our article abstracts are now available in Dublin Core. They can be harvested from our server on request.
Related Link: [1].

W3C Documents Released: Web Services Architecture Usage; Ontology Development
September 2002-- "The Web Services Architecture Working Group has released the first Working Draft of [Web Services Architecture Usage Scenarios]. The draft is a collection of usage scenarios and use cases used for generating Web services architecture requirements and for evaluating existing technologies." "The Web Ontology Working Group has released three first Working Drafts. The [Feature Synopsis], [Abstract Syntax] and [Language Reference] describe the OWL Web Ontology Language 1.0 and its subset OWL Lite. Automated tools can use common sets of terms called ontologies to power services such as more accurate Web search, intelligent software agents, and knowledge management. OWL is used to publish and share ontologies on the Web. "--World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
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No More Jpegs?
September 2002-- The ISO standards body will take the unprecedented step of withdrawing the JPEG image format as a formal standard if Forgent Networks, a small Texan company, continues to demand royalties on a seventeen-year old patent. --by Andrew Orlowski in London, The Register, Aug. 15, 2002
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E-books Get Mixed Response
September 2002-- Don't throw away your bookbags just yet. Although e-book pioneers say that cumbersome textbooks are a prime candidates to be replaced by e-books, a recent study shows that the technology still has a way to go. The study, conducted at Ball State University's Center for Information and Communication Sciences, compared the effectiveness of e-books versus textbooks, measuring both the learning experience, as determined by comparative test scores, and the usability of e-books. And while the good news is that learning was not negatively affected, the technology was still cumbersome. Students tested both black and white and color biology e-books, but without pictures, tables, or diagrams. Out of 91 subjects, 40 used the conventional textbook, 24 used the black and white e-book, and 27 used the color e-book. Quiz results were almost identical, with scores averaging 29, 28.9, and 28.5 respectively. However, students complained about e-books, ranging from a too-complex online manual to difficulty in finding a chapter, previously read material, or appendix. Book marking, word lookup, and search functions were not considered useful or easy to use. Also, they mentioned that glare and cold temperature affected performance. Further, the amount of time taken to perform certain tasks negatively affected the perception of the usability of e- books. Students also expected the features to have the same functionality as similar devices in computer programs or personal digital assistants and were disappointed with their limitations. The study made a series of recommendations to improve the usability of e-books, including a redesign of the menu, the ability to page up or down by more than one page at a time, and an increase in the screen size to 6" x 8.5" (from 5" x 7"). The study was funded with a grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation, with equipment donated by Thomson Multimedia. The full report can be found at -- Library Academic Newswire,The Book Report, Aug. 29, 2002.
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Congressman Bohlert Meets Dr. Howe in Ithaca
September 2002-- Dr. Kaye Howe, Deputy Director of the NSDL Central Office, met Congressman Sherwood Bohlert, Chair, House Science Committee, and presented him with a CD tour of the Library on his recent visit to the Sciencenter--Ithaca's interactive science museum.
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Report on Out-of-Field Teaching Available from The Education Trust
September 2002-- The Education Trust was established by the American Association for Higher Education as a special project on K-12 school reform and has become an independent, nonprofit organization.
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The Futures Project
September 2002-- The Futures Project believes that America's Colleges and Universities must become more responsive, innovative, accountable, and accessible.
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Rush to Digital May Leave Resources Behind
September 2002-- The August 2002 issue of Science reports on The American Geophysical Union's (AGU) rocky transition to e-publishing and AGU's response.
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Shrinking World, Expanding Net Conference
September 2002-- Design of information and communications technology is art as well as science. The combination of art, science, and technology yields systems and devices with economic and political implications. To be held on Saturday, October 5, 2002 from 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. in the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Cambridge, MA.
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Cornell Digital Library Projects and Initiatives
September 2002-- The Cornell Library has announced the launch of a new Web site that brings together information on a growing array of digital initiatives. Here you will find links to digital content, projects, current research, and critical resources.--Sarah Thomas, Cornell University Librarian, Co-PI, NSDL Cornell.
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September 2002 Inspiration
September 2002-- Digital kinetic sculpture by David C. Roy (especially the quark cotillion).
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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