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

The Whiteboard Report
October 2002, Issue #23



The NSDL Browse Service
October 2002-- The NSDL is a dynamic aggregator of specialized resources organized by collection that is always growing. The Library welcomes explorers and browsers, as well as searchers, who may be interested in checking in to find out what's new in the NSDL.The NSDL Browse Service is a discovery tool that allows users to find collections within a specific topic area. In the first release of the NSDL, information from the Library catalog will be matched with simple subject access to collections. Users may take an quick look at some Library collections in a simple "tree browse" interface based on the categories developed by The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM). Future releases of the Library will include tools for creating and and managing federated ontologies, which will allow services to relate library holdings to educational concepts.

Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) Outreach and Community Relations Liason
October 2002-- The [DLESE Program Center] is pleased to announce the hiring of Rajul Pandya as the DPC Outreach and Community Relations Liaison. Rajul started his new position at the DPC on September 3, 2002. Rajul follows Tom Boyd in the position, who has returned to teaching and half-time deanship duties at the Colorado School of Mines. Raj will work with the DPC Outreach Team to support community outreach efforts, encourage community participation in library building, and facilitate interactions between the broad community and the DPC technical development teams. Rajul will also serve as the primary liaison between the DPC and core service areas, including awardees from the upcoming [DLESE program solicitation]. Finally, Rajul will actively represent DLESE and the DPC at national and regional conferences, workshops, and through publications and public relations. Rajul is also working with the [THREDDS] project at [UCAR/Unidata], an NSDL project, designed to develop a prototype scientific data web that will facilitate the publication, discovery, and use of environmental data. This work intersects with his participation in the [VGEE] project; the VGEE was an inquiry-based learning environment built around learner-constructed visualization of geoscience phenomena. Raj comes to the DPC from West Chester University (Pennsylvania), where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Astronomy. Rajul received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington in December 1996, and a B.S. in Physics from the University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign?) in 1991.
Related Link: [VGEE]

Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) National Multimedia Repository Now Available
October 2002-- The HEAL team is pleased to announce to the NSDL community that the first beta release of the Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) National Multimedia Repository database is now available online. The team welcomes feedback from educators in the health sciences community. After beta testing the application, new features and additional content will be released. The current collection consists of 1,800 images covering the areas of dermatology obstetrics/gynecology, neuroanatomy, neurology, pathology, biochemistry, and cardiology. This prototype collection allows the user to explore the functionality of the application but does not reflect the quality, quantity and variety of HEAL's future collection. At this time the following application components can be explored: registration, searching and downloading. The module for contributing will be unveiled in the near future. It is important to note that testing of this beta version and usability studies are still in progress. To access the application, please visit and click on the "Find Multimedia" link. Sample searches that will retrieve results from the current database are listed on the Simple Search page. We look forward to your feedback as we continue to enhance the HEAL application and work with our partners to augment the scope of the collection.--The HEAL Team: Chris Candler, Sharon Dennis, and Sebastian Uijtdehaage
Related Link:

NSDL NEW PROJECT: Small Machines With Big Educational Impact
October 2002-- Cornell University has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a digital collection of historical machine models for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). This freely accessible online collection will provide educators, students, researchers, and the general public with tools for exploring the mathematical motions of machines: the science of kinematics. The collection will be geared for educational use at the middle school, secondary, and university levels. This project is a collaboration of librarians, faculty in mathematics and mechanical engineering, and education specialists at Cornell. The project is under the direction of John M. Saylor, Director of the Engineering Library (and a Co-PI in Cornell University's portion of the core integration grant to build the NSDL) who is the Principal Investigator. Co-Principal Investigators are Professors David W. Henderson (Mathematics), Francis C. Moon (Mechanical Engineering) and Hod Lipson (Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science). Other principal team members include project manager Kizer Walker (Library), website designer Kristina Buhrman (Library), Professor Daina Taimina (Mathematics), and Professor Donald Bartel (Mechanical Engineering). Professor Taimina will head up the preparation of learning models for schools, and Professor Bartel will collaborate on college-level learning modules The Kinematic Models for Design Digital Library (K-MODDL) will be a collection of digital images (still and moving, with user-controlled interactive learning components) of rare 19th-century mechanical models that were designed to teach kinematic principles. Computer simulations of the models? movements, related full-text documents in digital form, and sample teaching modules that employ the models and simulations in the classroom at the undergraduate, high school, and middle school levels are planned for the collection. The mechanisms that make up the core of the collection are model machine elements developed for research and teaching by German engineering professor Franz Reuleaux (1829-1905). Reuleaux was the founder of modern kinematics and a forerunner of modern design theory of machines. Cornell University holds 220 pieces, the most complete extant set of the Reuleaux mechanisms in the world. K-MODDL builds on a database of still images and descriptive records of the Reuleaux models, which has been developed with funding from Cornell University Library. This collection will be incorporated into the NSF's National Science Digital Library (, which will promote its discovery and use by teachers, students, and researchers. Users will also be able to add to K-MODDL with annotations and links to related materials. Future plans include developing collaborations with museums in Europe and Japan to create a worldwide museum and digital library of machine mechanisms. A project web site will be available soon.
Related Link:

Materials World
October 2002-- Boulder, CO was the site for an experts meeting/workshop of the Green's Functions Research and Education Network (GREEN) in March ( The GREEN project is a collaboration of the Center for Theoretical and Computational Materials Science (CTCMS) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Kent State University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The NIST-sponsored event brought together scientists from universities, government institutions, and industries to discuss developments in the teaching and research of Green's functions (GF) as well as their application, especially with regard to materials problems. It also facilitated the ongoing development a GF collection for educational, research and industrial use. Dave Fulker, NSDL Central Office Director, presented ?NSDL and its 'Core Integration' Effort?, which described the mission and organization of the NSDL and the Core Integration.
Related Link:

Gender & Science Digital Library at SWE Conference
October 2002-- The Gender & Science Digital Library project will be presenting at the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conference in Detroit, MI October 9-12 ( This year?s theme is ?The Art of Engineering?. The GSDL?s presentation will be part of the ?Creative Web Applications and E-commerce? series and will demonstrate how technology can be a powerful tool in developing a collection of good quality, gender-equitable STEM resources for both K-12 and higher education audiences.
Related Link:

NSDL Evaluation Working Group Releases Preliminary Report
October 2002-- You may download the "NSDL Evaluation Pilot Preliminary Report of Collections Data & Users and Usage Data" at, conducted from April-June of this year. Six pilot sites were studied with the ultimate goal of establishing guidelines for further evaluation of all aspects of the NSDL. Specific questions the study attempted to answer are: 1) How are people using the libraries? 2) How are collections growing/changing? 3) How well are the distributed library building and governance processes working? 4) What resources are required to continue the evaluation process of the NSDL collectively and distributed project sites?
Related Link:

TRAVEL REMINDER: NSDL Annual Meeting December 2-4, 2002
October 2002-- For those planning to attend the NSDL Annual Meerting in Washinton, D. C., please note that the travel right after Thanksgiving weekend is very busy. Please make your reservations as soon as possible. NSDL Annual Meeting Registration and hotel information can be found at Please note that posters are required from each project this year. The "Call for Posters" guidelines for abstracts and submission can be found at Deadline for submission of poster abstracts is November 8.
Related Link:

Illinois Online Conference for Teaching and Learning: Innovation, Education, Technology, and You 200
October 2002-- The Steering Committee for the Illinois Online Conference for Teaching and Learning to be held Feb. 26-28, 2003, would like to invite you to submit a proposal for this conference. The proposal deadline is NOVEMBER 11, 2002. Conference details and information regarding the Call for Proposals can be found at, or contact Max Jaeger at for more information. REGISTERING AND REGISTRATION FEE: Presenters are required to register online and qualify for the special discounted rate of $50. Please see the website for online information about registration that will begin on October 1, 2002. SPONSORS AND VENDORS: Organizations or companies interested in participating in a virtual exhibition, or becoming a major sponsor of this event may contact Max Jaeger at for details.
Related Link:

Learning Sciences in Seattle
October 2002-- You are invited to attend a half-day workshop "Social Activity in Educational Digital Libraries: Community, Tools, and Resources for Learning" organized by Wes Shumar, (Drexel University), Chris Hoadley (Pennsylvania State University), Mimi Recker (Utah State University), K. Ann Renninger, (Swarthmore College), and Mark Schlager (SRI International). The workshop will take place at the upcoming International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) in Seattle, Washington, October 22-26, 2002. The workshop will take place Tuesday, October 22, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Please see for information on the conference, location, and accommodations. There is no cost to attend this workshop. However, attendance is limited so please register in advance by sending an email to Mimi Recker Much recent research has focused on the design, development, and evaluation of online sites dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning. Examples of such sites exist along a continuum from resource-oriented educational digital libraries to community-oriented discussion sites. This workshop will focus on role of such sites in supporting community building, and the social context of learning. In particular, the workshop will focus on identifying and categorizing participant activity structures, including user interactions, communication patterns, and resource use. Participants in the workshop will be asked to bring to the meeting information they have on their users and their activities. Outcomes of the workshop will lead to preliminary model, identifying, and describing activity structures within a range of sites for online learning. This model will help both digital library researchers and online community researchers find common ground on what their tools do or might support, and will help these two research communities to begin building collaboration for future research.
Related Link:

The Heavyweights: Supreme Court Copyright Battle Set for October
October 2002-- As the court date approaches, the copyright case Eldred v. Ashcroft is looking more and more like a heavyweight fight: In one corner, hailing from Stanford University, Professor Lawrence Lessig, renowned author and legal scholar on the nexus of copyright, technology, and the Constitution. And to show that the government is taking Lessig seriously, his opponent won't be just any government lawyer but Solicitor General Theodore Olson himself, who brings with him a perfect 8-0 record. Lessig and Olson will square off on October 9, and the decision of the judges could deliver a knockout blow to the copyright industry--or conversely could perpetuate and enable unlimited copyright extensions that experts say will greatly hinder the work of libraries in the future. (see LJ Academic Newswire 5/30/02). On behalf of the government, Olson will argue that it is the prerogative of Congress and Congress alone to extend the copyright terms of previously created works as well as future works. Lessig, on the other hand, is expected to argue that Congress has overstepped its vague boundaries, and that the recent Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which tacked 20 years to existing copyright protections, neither promotes progress nor qualifies as a "limited time" as mandated. Further, Lessig is expected to argue that the law actually abridges free speech, by keeping creators from modifying existing ideas for fear of copyright infringement. Lessig will have his work cut out for him, given the vagueness of the language in the Constitution. In his brief to the court, Olson said Lessig's argument would "in effect ask [the court] to rewrite the governing constitutional language" concerning copyright terms, and asserted simply that "the Constitutionassigns such policy choices to Congress, not the courts." Odds, anyone? --Library Journal Academic Newswire, Sept. 26, 2002

National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Draft Standard for E-metrics
October 2002-- The NSDL community is invited to take the opportunity to provide comments on the 2002 Library Statistics Standard as a Draft Standard for Trial Use (12 months). The revised standard addresses an area critical to the information community: measurement of electronic resources (E-metrics). The new draft standard is available on the NISO website at this url: "This new edition of Z39.7 is a major departure from prior versions of the standard. Not only has the Committee embraced valuable best practices long recognized by the U.S. library community, we have also incorporated international definitions," said Denise Davis, Chair of Standards Committee AY, Library Statistics. "And, by offering this standard in a web-accessible database we are extending its reach and functionality." The trial use period is 12 months, supporting an annual data collection cycle. All persons engaged in data collection activities at the local, state, and national levels are encouraged to provide comments to the committee. Publishers, information aggregators and consortia are encouraged to review and use the E-metrics sections.
Related Link:

Long Live the Library Dept.
October 2002-- Witness the future of libraries by visiting the newly updated portal established by the Library of Michigan: the Michigan eLibrary Acting as an adjunct to the physical library as well as a powerful standalone resource, MeL? puts Michigan at the top of the heap for providing its citizens with an amazing information portal far superior to most commercial sites. The latest iteration adds a new layer for state residents with a multitude of unique and obscure research services, in addition to what's available for the general public. During the Internet age, we've forgotten that professional librarians know how to find information better than anyone?especially better than computer programmers. Though at the beginning of the Web era in 1993, librarians did not have the computer and Web development skills to show their muscles, they do now. Expect to see more killer sites like this in the years ahead as other states get a clue. Bravo to the Michigan librarians who put this gem together. Kudos. Yahoo!, move over.--by John Dvorak, PC Magazine, Straw Poll Department, Sept. 24, 2002,4149,548514,00.asp
Related Link:,4149,548514,00.asp

NSF Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE) Award
October 2002-- The National Science Foundationhas awarded $10 million to establish the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE). Cindy Atman, Director of the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT), will lead the new center which is a collaboration between University of Wisconsin, the Colorado School of Mines, Howard University, Stanford University, the University of Minnesota and several other partners. The press release is available at:
Related Link:

Cornell Library Receives Grants to Develop Preservation Training Programs
October 2002-- The Cornell University Library (CUL) announced that it has received two grants to develop training programs for librarians and archivists internationally. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded CUL's Preservation Department and the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections a $230,167 grant to develop an innovative new digital preservation training program. And the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has contracted with CUL's Department of Preservation and Collection Maintenance to write and design an online tutorial for librarians and archivists in Southeast Asia. The tutorial concerns the preservation of library and archival materials and is funded by a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Cornell officials say the one-year project should produce a tutorial that can be adapted in future years to address the needs of various other regions. For more information, go to --Library Journal Academic Newswire, Sept. 23, 2002




October 2003 Inspiration
October 2002-- Promises "informative and entertaining cyber-dribble" as well as useful web training ideas.
Related Link:

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